Last Updated S012019


Unit Code MRI603
Unit Duration 12 Weeks

Master of Engineering (Civil: Railway Infrastructure)

Duration: 2 years   

Year Level Two
Unit Creator / Reviewer Mike Garrett
Core/Elective: Core
Pre/Co-requisites None
Credit Points



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

The responsibility of a Railway Civil Engineer extends far beyond understanding and maintaining the track in the “permanent way”.

The construction of new track, and reconstruction of existing track, must be managed with insight and competence, particularly with regard to interfacing between the project, key stakeholders, and the public. It requires an appreciation of contracts and their administration, an ability to assess construction and geotechnical risks, and the specification of appropriate construction processes, just to name of few of these considerations.

Furthermore, the rail corridor, or right-of-way, also has within it various structures, such as electric overhead power, stations and platforms, and level crossings; consequently, there is also a need for the management of the construction and maintenance of these other elements.

This Unit thus aims to assist students to take charge and effectively discharge their various responsibilities in the management of construction activities of track and of non-track facilities within the rail corridor.

The more advanced issues discussed within this Unit are built on student knowledge of track and train related matters as covered in all the other Units provided in this Master’s program to date.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Formulate effective leadership and management of railway-related construction projects by taking into account the many impacts which this work entails, such as the social and ethical responsibilities involved in these activities.

          Bloom’s Level 6

  1. Evaluate the aspects of interpersonal team dynamics and their relevance to the management and execution of construction projects.

         Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Judge the risks of geotechnical hazards in the rail corridor.

          Bloom’s Level 5

  1. Produce and compile relevant information to determine appropriate construction strategies for a railway construction project.

           Bloom’s Level 6

Student assessment

Assessment Type

When assessed

(eg Week 5)

Weighting (% of total unit marks) Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1

Type: Design brief and Individual Presentation

Word length: 1000

Topic: Prepare 4 items – no more than one page each:

  • A brief summary of key issues in “Who Moved My Cheese” book. Your character profile is from Simpsons Myers-Briggs, and your role is in a construction team.
  • Formation of your team – roles and team rules.
  • An ethical situation which you have been involved in and how you demonstrated ethical practice in this situation.
  • A summary of the “Key Issues with Light Rail” – purpose, construction, operation, interfaces with community, economics and environmental impact.

Individual presentation of the self-assessment report of the 4 items above is required.

Week 3 20% 1, 2

Assessment 2

Type: Professional Plans (Group and Individual) and Peer-review

Word Length : 1000


Topic: The students will contribute, form a team, define and agree on each other’s roles, and identify all the 15 to 20 management plans required to control and deliver a specific project. There is a peer-review to be carried out by students for their team members.

Week 7 25% 1,2

Assessment 3

Type: Report and Presentation (Final Project)

Word length: 2000-4000

Topic: Prepare a comprehensive construction plan for a major shutdown as a part of a case study including an investigation of a major geotechnical event. The students are required to present their findings and answer any questions raised.

Week 12 50% 1 – 4


Continuous 5% 1 - 4


Prescribed and Recommended readings

Required Textbook(s)

Construction Plan Study Notes by Rail Innovation Australia (RIA) [existing materials] and other information and materials on their website:

Reference Materials

A number of books, peer-reviewed journals, and websites as advised below:

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

Personality Profile and Team Skills

  1. Simpsons Myers Briggs Profile
  2. Personality traits, team skills, complementary and compatible personalities
  3. Introduction to light rail projects

Topic 2

Project Planning

  1. Project planning, stakeholders
  2. Types of construction contracts


Topic 3 and 4

Track Construction Methodologies

  1. Manual track construction
  2. In-track construction
  3. Track panel laying
  4. Slab track construction
  5. Turnout construction



Topic 5 and 6

Construction Plans

  1. Establishment and material logistics
  2. Works execution and interface issues
  3. Risk and contingency planning
  4. Commissioning, testing, and acceptance
  5. Construction costs
  6. Design of junctions to existing railways, connection agreements, and rail system integration/compatibility



Topic 7,8 and 9

Civil Structures

  1. Construction materials and types
  2. Introduction to design of bridges and structures from a track construction perspective
  3. Structural defects
  4. Inspections
  5. Maintenance of civil structures including tunnel construction options and economic considerations
  6. Track maintenance overview/techniques and methods
  7. Railway buildings – types and maintenance aspects




Topic 10 and 11

Geotechnical Risk

  1. Introduction to geotechnical risk in the rail corridor
  2. Identification of geotechnical hazards to rail operations
  3. Assessment of geotechnical risk to rail operations




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 and to clarify any outstanding issues. Instructors/facilitators may choose to cover a specialised topic if applicable to that cohort.

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