SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2N226338
Module Leader Caroline Tuff
School School for Work Based Education
Subject SCWBE
  • C (May start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Students must be working in the rail industry in a full-time, part-time or voluntary capacity .

Summary of Content

This module looks at the effective resourcing of operations from current and future planning perspectives. It will cover the importance of operations and engineers working closely together. Specifically, it will look at asset ownership arrangements, the need for maintenance and the characteristics of various types of electric and diesel vehicles in heavy rail, light rail and metro and the professional skill sets supporting this in the industry and their interface. It will look at the main communication systems available and how they are used to keep operations safe in adverse or degraded conditions and in planned and emergency engineering work. The module will build on this 'whole system' thinking by exploring the political, social and economic specifics of rail staffing, collective bargaining, diversity and inclusion, effects of regulation and rostering practice, supervisory, management and leadership challenges, role definition and workforce planning.


The following key areas will be considered: -455b7 Whole System Thinking b7 Safety of operations in adverse or degraded conditions, concept of fail safe and wrong side failures, achieving, maintaining and improving operational safety standards. b7 Communication systems and standards. b7 Trains types and main elements of railway infrastructure. b7 Methods of investigating and reporting accidents with a view to preventing reoccurrence. b7 Organisation structures, key roles and job families in rail b7 Principles and practices of rostering b7 Improving rostering efficiency and fairness in political, economic and social contexts.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1. Explain the types of railway componentry, systems and the professional skills required for the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of the whole rail system in planned, degraded and emergency modes of working. 2. Analyse the political, social and economic contexts for employment in the rail industry. 3. Examine current rostering and work force planning practices to identify areas for improvement to meet particular requirements.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

This work-based module adopts a blended approach to learning which combines face to face contact, through classroom based tutorials and/or webinars, and online learning via GCU's virtual learning environment, GCU Learn. The teaching and learning strategy encourages an active and self-directed approach to learning. In the context of a work-based ethos, teaching and learning methods use real world and real work scenarios to promote inquiry and problem based learning in a collaborative learning environment. Students will be expected to take an objective stance and use a wide range of evidence to support their arguments, for example academic theories/theoretical perspectives/concepts/techniques/principles/rules and regulations in order to frame and analyse actual work-based problems. Learners will be supported during the module by the module team including module tutors and the IRO Learning and Development team as well as dedicated GCU academic members of staff including Academic Development Tutors (ADT's). Module tutors act as facilitators of learning and assessment and also determine the level and accuracy of knowledge acquisition at key points in the delivery. They also support students to identify relevant work activity that can operate as a source for work-integrated learning and assessment. ADTs provide support for academic writing and the development of study techniques. Both formative and summative assessment strategies will be adopted during the module. Formative assessment is used as a foundation upon which students can build towards their summative work. Formative opportunities will be used to provide developmental feedback to enhance students' learning and academic writing. The summative assessment will enable students to demonstrate their learning in relation to the module learning outcomes in a work-based context.

Indicative Reading

ARMSTRONG, J. H., 2008. The Railroad, What it is What is Does, 5th ed., Simmonds Boardman Pub Co. DOHERTY, A. 2015. Railway Operating Principles Core Text , IRO ELLIS, I. 2015. Ellis' British Railway Engineering Encyclopaedia. 3 rd ed. London: Lulu HALL, C. 2016. Modern Signalling Handbook , 5 th ed. Ian Allan Publishing HALL, S., 2003. Beyond Hidden Dangers: Railway Safety into the 21st Century , Surrey: Ian Allen HALL, S. & MARK, P., 2008. Level Crossings , London: Ian Allan HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE, 2012. Reducing Error and Influencing Behaviour , Health and Safety Executive INSTITUTION OF RAILWAY OPERATORS, 2015. Railway Systems Core Text , Institution of Railway Operators INSTITUTION OF RAILWAY OPERATORS, 2019. Operations Handbook , Institution of Railway Operators MORSE, G. 2014. Railway accidents , Oxfordshire Publications. OFFICE OF RAIL REGULATION, 2011. Level Crossings: A Guide for Managers, Designers and Operators, Railway Safety Publication 7, ORR PYRGIDIS, C. N., 2016. Railway transportation systems?: design, construction and operation . [Online]. Boca Raton: CRC Press. OTHER USEFUL RESOURCES Commission for Railway Regulation, Available at: www.crr.ie <http://www.crr.ie> Department for Transport: Office for Road and Rail, Available at: <https://orr.gov.uk/about-orr/who-we-work-with/government/department-for-transport> Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Available at: <https://www.gov.ie/en/organisation/department-of-transport-tourism-and-sport/> Network Rail Available at: www.networkrail.co.uk <http://www.networkrail.co.uk> Rail Safety and Standards Board, Available at: www.rssb.co.uk <http://www.rssb.co.uk> Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB), Available from: <https://www.gov.uk/raib-reports> Railway Accident Investigations Unit, Available at: www.raiu.ie <http://www.raiu.ie> Railway Standards, Available at: www.rgsonline.co.uk <http://www.rgsonline.co.uk> Transport Focus, Available at: <https://www.transportfocus.org.uk/> Transport Scotland, Available at: <https://www.transport.gov.scot/> Transport for Wales, Available at: <https://tfw.gov.wales/>

Transferrable Skills

-426b7 Reflection and reflective writing b7 Independent learning b7 Written communication skills b7 Assessment and appraisal skills b7 Information retrieval skills: library and internet research skills b7 Problem solving and decision making b7 Negotiation, time management and forward planning skills b7 Applying theory to practice

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (PT) 128.00
Lectures (PT) 7.00
Assessment (PT) 40.00
Seminars (PT) 25.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 100.00 40% CW1: Words Based AssignmentWord count: 3000 wordsWeighting: 100%Addressing: LO1, LO2 and LO3