SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 10.00
ECTS Credit Points 5.00
Module Code M3L122031
Module Leader n/a
School School for Work Based Education
Subject SCWBE
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

This module covers the financial and economic background to the railway industry and how it affects decision-making by railway managers. It also considers the nature of the costs of a railway company and how these costs can change in different circumstances and over different timescales. This module also covers how income for a new or altered train service is predicted and how costs and benefits of investment projects are compared so as to select appropriate projects. The module then considers the public interest in railways, including why subsidies might be paid to different types of railway services. The objectives of the module are to help students to: -426b7 Appreciate the inter-relationship between railway business and production issues b7 Understand the basic cost structure of the industry b7 Follow the development of arguments about the nature and importance of business issues for their own work b7 Participate positively in discussions about business strategy b7 Appreciate those areas where railways as businesses face other issues such as regulation and subsidy and the way in which those cross-cut with business issues b7 Understand business risk, its importance and its handling b7 Appreciate the commercial and legal framework within which all these issues are played out.


During the module the student will cover the following syllabus: -426b7 Why economics and business issues are important b7 Railways as a business b7 Railway costs - cost structure, fixed and variable costs, cost allocation, the contractual matrix b7 Railway revenues - sources of revenue forecasting demand, characteristics of the National Rail Passenger market in Britain, fares, revenue distribution b7 Risk - how it arises and how it is managed b7 The public interest in railways - subsidy, franchise agreements, performance, regulation b7 Railway business and contract management.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

It is intended that this module is delivered through GCU Learn, GCU's on-line learning environment. Students will be expected to participate in a range of e-learning activities including individual and group work, and where appropriate self and peer assessment. Formative assessment will be used to encourage learning and interpersonal skills and the summative assessments will provide evidence of the development achieved throughout the module. A tutorial event at the start of the module will bring students together fromt he programme. This also provides the opportunity to meet their tutors. Further support will be offered via GCU Learn, for example on-line discussion and announcements, by e-mail and telephone. Formative assessment will be used not only to encourage knowledge of the subject, but also to help develop transferable skills. Summative assessments will provide evidence of the learning achieved throughout the module. Summative assessments are compulsory. A mark of 35% must be achieved for each summative assessment and an overall mark of 40% must be achieved in the module.

Indicative Reading

Professor Stuart Cole (2005), Applied Transport Economics , Kogan Page Harris, N. G. & Godward, E. W., (1992), Planning Passenger Railways , TPC Harris, N. G. & Schmid, F., (2003), Planning Freight Railways , TPC Samuel, H., (1961), Railway Operating Practice , Odhams Press Joy, S., (1973), The Train that Ran Away , Ian Allan Gubbins, E., (2003), Managing Transport Operations , Kogan Page Gourvish, T., (1986), British Railways 1948 - 1973: A Business History , Cambridge University Press Gourvish, T., (2002), British Rail 1974 - 97: From Integration to Privatisation , Oxford University Press. Dennis, S.M. & Talley, W.K. (Ed), (2007), Railway Economics , Research in Transport Economics (Vol 20). Elsevier These are described in more detail in the core text. Inevitably, writing of books tends to lag significantly behind events, so coverage of more recent events will draw more on magazines and journal than books. Key publications are Modern Railways and Rail Magazine, Railways Africa. Much useful information can be found on websites, and the core text describes these in more detail: www.transnet.co.za <http://www.transnet.co.za> www.rsr.org.za <http://www.rsr.org.za> www.rail-reg.gov.uk <http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk> www.dft.gov.uk <http://www.dft.gov.uk> www.networkrail.co.uk <http://www.networkrail.co.uk>

Transferrable Skills

- Written communications skills - Problem solving - Information gathering skills - Critical thinking and reflection - Assessment and evaluation skills - Negotiation, time management and forward planning skills

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Custom Activity 1 (PT) 35.00
Tutorial support 10.00
Assessment (PT) 20.00
Directed learning 35.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 40% The assessments are work based and negotiated between the Institution of Railway Operators, the University of Johannesburg and Glasgow Caledonian University