Last Updated S012019


Unit Code MRI502
Unit Duration 12 Weeks

Graduate Diploma of Engineering (Civil: Railway Infrastructure)

Duration: 1 year


Master of Engineering (Civil: Railway Infrastructure)

Duration: 2 years   

Year Level One
Unit Creator / Reviewer Brian Marsden
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites MRI501
Credit Points


Grad Dip total course credit points = 24

(3 credits x 8 (units))


Masters total course credit points = 48

(3 credits x 12 (units) + 12 credits (Thesis))

Mode of Delivery Online or on-campus. 
Unit Workload

10 hours per week:

Lecture - 1 hour

Tutorial Lecture - 1 hours

Assessments / Practical / Lab - 1 hour (where applicable)

Personal Study recommended - 7 hours (guided and unguided)

Unit Description and General Aims

This Unit provides an introductory overview of the management of railways from the perspective of an infrastructure manager. The Unit discusses the management of key issues including quality, safety, and the environment, with an emphasis on safety management.

It provides students with an understanding of preparation of management plans such as maintenance plans. It broadly describes project management and implementing projects. Further, it provides a basic methodology for managing change and innovation.

The previous “Introduction to Railway Operations” Unit, which provided a preliminary view of the main assets and resources of a railway, is a prerequisite for this Unit.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this Unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Evaluate the essential facets of the management of railways.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  2. Critique and discuss at a broad level the management of quality, safety, and risk in relation to railways.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  3. Assess the basic steps in the preparation of management plans and feasibility studies for railways.
    • Bloom’s Level 5
  4. Formulate the processes behind the preparation of project plans and the management of projects for railways.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  5. Hypothesise how change and innovation are managed in a railway.
    • Bloom’s Level 6
  6. Develop, assemble, and synthesise appropriate engineering and/or management elements within a major case study of a railway management system.
    • Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type

(e.g. Assignment - 2000 word essay (specify topic)

Examination (specify length and format))

When assessed

(eg Week 5)


(% of total Unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Multi-choice test (Proctored)

Example Topic: Questions on legislation, organisations, management and planning.


Topic 3


1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Group Discussion and Evaluation

Example Topic: “There have been several major derailments on a heavily used freight line in Myanmar due to poor track condition. The main issue is poor timber sleeper condition. Each team is required to prepare a presentation of a plan to improve the track condition to reduce or prevent derailments. The presentations should use a standard planning framework. Assume the Government, media, and insurers are watching. Each team must include a discussion of how they would manage the condition of infrastructure before the work starts. They should discuss how they would assess and celebrate success.”


Topic 6


1, 2, 3

Assessment 3

Type: Case Study

Develop, assemble and synthesise appropriate engineering and management elements within a major case study of a railway management system.


Topic 9



Assessment 4

Type: Planning and Design Report

Word length: 2000

Example Topic: You have been appointed as Chief Infrastructure Engineer of a new government owned mining railway under construction in China which will open a year from now. The railway is 600 km long, and will carry 55 MTpa of coal, ramping up from 10 MT in the first year to 55 MTpa by Year 3. Describe how you would plan and manage the start-up of the infrastructure and operation of the railway. It should be based on a standard planning framework. The plan should include an organisation structure showing initial staffing and operation of the railway. It should include planning for condition management of infrastructure from day one.

Week 12


1 – 6




1 - 6

Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook(s)

  1. Profillidis, V., Railway Management and Engineering 4th ed., Ashgate, 2014.
  2. Guideline - Safety Management System: Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator
  3. Productivity Commission 1999, Progress in Rail Reform, Inquiry report no.6, AusInfo, Canberra.
  4. AS 4292.1:2006 Railway Safety Management – General Requirements. Standards Australia, Canberra.
  5. AS 7770:2018 Rail Cyber Security. Standards Australia, Canberra.
  6. ISO 9001:2016 Quality Management Systems – Requirements. Standards Australia, Canberra.


  • Esveld, C., Modern Railway Track 2nd ed. MRT Productions, Netherlands. 2011, ISBN 90-800324-3-3. Available at and
  • Standing committee on Communications, Transport and Microeconomic Reform 1998, Tracking Australia: An inquiry into the role of rail in the national transport network, CanPrint Communications, Canberra.
  • Code of Practice for The Defined Interstate Rail Network Volume 1: General Requirements And Interface Management: Commonwealth Department of Transport and Regional Services
  • History of Rail in Australia:
  • A Global Vision For Railway Development: International Railway Research Board: International Union of Railways

Reference Materials

A number of websites as advised below (and during lectures):


Unit Content

One topic is delivered per contact week, with the exception of part-time 24-week units, where one topic is delivered every two weeks.


Topic 1

Railway Legislation

  1. Introduction to legislation and regulation governing railways – Transport Acts, OHS, environment, IR, finance, etc.
  2. National Rail Safety Legislation
  3. Competition policy

Topic 2

Typical Railway Organisations

  1. Governance – Ministers, shareholders, board
  2. Typical organizational structure
  3. Organization purpose, vision, policy statements

Topic 3

Management Systems

  1. Key management systems – quality, environment, heritage, and safety
  2. Risk management and risk assessment
  3. Information systems
  4. Security, including cybersecurity

Topic 4

Management Planning

  1. Management Planning: Introduction to the planning process – short, medium, long term plans. Balancing Capex and Opex
  2. Developing an Operational Expenditure Plan (Opex)
  3. Developing a Capital Expenditure Plan (Capex).

Topic 5

Safety Management

  1. Safety Management System
  2. Incident control
  3. Accident investigation and reporting

Topic 6

Asset Management

  1. The economic asset
  2. Functions of the asset provider
  3. Asset lifecycle – track

Topic 7

Condition and Safety Measurement

  1. Introduction to monitoring infrastructure asset condition and safety
  2. Common methods, equipment and sensors – descriptive, ratings, walking, mobile, trackside, and US
  3. Data analysis – ratings, SD’s, exceptions, averages, defect sizes, etc

Topic 8

Condition and Safety Management

  1. Setting standards for infrastructure condition
  2. Degradation rates, intervention levels, operational restrictions
  3. Use of data and monitoring defect repairs and condition trends
  4. Planning maintenance and renewal budgets

Topic 9

Management Studies

  1. Use of studies in railways – plant, staffing, upgrading, and restructuring
  2. Common types of studies – concept, preliminary, pre-feasibility, definitive
  3. Estimating and budgeting – discounted cash flow method, cost and revenue centres

Topic 10

Performance Management

  1. Leadership – setting goals
  2. Measuring performance
  3. Rewarding performance

Topic 11

Reform, Change and Innovation

  1. Management of change and innovation
  2. Managing innovators

Topic 12

Project and Unit Review

In the final week students will have an opportunity to review the contents covered so far. Opportunity will be provided for a review of student work, to clarify any outstanding issues, and to work on finalising the major assessment report.

Engineers Australia

The Australian Engineering Stage 1 Competency Standards for the Professional Engineer, approved as of 2013. This table is referenced in the mapping of graduate attributes to learning outcomes and via the learning outcomes to student assessment.

Stage 1 Competencies and Elements Competency
1. Knowledge and Skill Base
1.1 Comprehensive, theory based understanding of the underpinning natural and physical sciences and the engineering fundamentals applicable to the engineering discipline.
1.2 Conceptual understanding of the mathematics, numerical analysis, statistics, and computer and information sciences which underpin the engineering discipline.
1.3 In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.
1.4 Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.
1.5 Knowledge of engineering design practice and contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.
1.6 Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of sustainable engineering practice in the specific discipline.
2. Engineering Application Ability
2.1 Application of established engineering methods to complex engineering problem solving.
2.2 Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources.
2.3 Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes.
2.4 Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects.
3. Professional and Personal Attributes
3.1 Ethical conduct and professional accountability.
3.2 Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains.
3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanor.
3.4 Professional use and management of information.
3.5 Orderly management of self and professional conduct.
3.6 Effective team membership and team leadership.

Software/Hardware Used


  • Software: N/A

  • Version: N/A

  •  Instructions: N/A

  •  Additional resources or files: N/A


  • Hardware: N/A