SHE Level 3
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M3N226317
Module Leader Marty Wright
School School for Work Based Education
Subject SCWBE
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)
  • C (May start)

Summary of Content

-1 The aim of this module is to provide students with a systemic perspective of a railway. The module will offer a general understanding on what Systems Thinking and Systems Engineering entail and how these relate to Railway Economics and, Organisational Design and Railway Engineering.


The-12 following-13 key-12 -1 areas-12 -1 will-12 -1 be-12 considered: -426 1. Concepts: Economies of traffic density vs. economies of scale; 'Harris curve'; Systems Thinking; Railway system archetype; Railway genetic technologies; Traffic throughput 2. Technologies to drive down conventional railway costs 3. Meaning, use and improvement of key metrics embedded in the cost structure 4. Economics of Transnet Freight Rail service offering: Mega rail, Flexi rail, Access Rail, Dual Route rail 5. Economics of Transnet Freight Rail network: Core network, Branch lines, Concessions 6. Transnet Market Demand Strategy 7. Project development: Business case, Front end Engineering, Procurement process, Life cycle cost, IFRS treatment of railway assets 8. Contract railway vs. common carrier -426 9. Contract management

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module the student should be able to:1. Demonstrate an understanding of the economics of traffic density, a contract railway and common carriers in the rail freight industry.2. Evaluate the impact of road / rail modal imbalance on the overall cost of logistics, and demonstrate an understanding of how economic regulation can affect railways.3. Critically analyse how life cycle costs, externality costs and revenues are reconciled to justify investments.4. Apply knowledge, skills and understanding to systemically design a sustainable railway business.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Students will be expected to draw on academic theories and techniques in order to frame, analyse and solve actual work-based problems. To this end learning will involve not only formal but informal learning strategies and assessment. This module particularly emphasises the integration of learning and work e.g. the student's assessment may involve them in conducting actual work based analysis and decision making within a work context. The module utilises an interactive lecture programme where students are encouraged to participate and contribute. Students are required to undertake a programme of specified reading for independent learning, and reflect upon managerial practices within the workplace. The teaching and skills development programme will be supported via GCU Learn, which will also enhance the students' ability to utilise e-communication.

Indicative Reading

-1 AAR. (2015) THE IMPACT OF THE STAGGERS RAIL ACT OF 1980, Stable URL: <https://www.aar.org/BackgroundPapers/Impact%20of%20the%20Staggers%20Act.pdf> Grobler, S. W. (2005). ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE AND ELLIOT JAQUES' STRATIFIED SYSTEMS THEORY. UNISA. Pretoria, Stable URL: <http://uir.unisa.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10500/146/2005%20MBL%203%20Research%20Report%20S%20W%20Grobler.pdf?sequence=1> Hardin, G. (1968) THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS. Science 162 (3859): 1243-1248. Stable URL: <http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243> Harris, R. G. (1977) ECONOMIES OF TRAFFIC DENSITY IN THE RAIL FREIGHT INDUSTRY, The Bell Journal of Economics. Vol 8, No 2 (Autumn 1977), pp. 556? 564, RAND Corporation Stable URL: <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0361-915X%28197723%298%3A2%3C556%3AEOTDIT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-U> Murray, I. (2013) NO WAY TO RUN A RAILWAY: LESSONS FROM BRITISH RAIL PRIVATIZATION. Adam Smith Institute, London Stable URL: <http://www.adamsmith.org/wp-content/uploads/railway.pdf> Van der Meulen, R. D. (2007) LEVERAGING GLOBAL RAILWAY INSIGHT INTO SOUTH AFRICA AND AFRICA. Proceedings of the Twenty-sixth Annual Southern African Transport Conference, pp. 650-659. Pretoria, Stable URL: <http://railcorpstrat.com/publications.html>

Transferrable Skills

Self-management: self-motivation, time management and critical self-reflection and evaluation of personal performance. Interpersonal Skills: an ability to work collaboratively and constructively with others on a complex group assignment. Communication skills, negotiation skills and presentation skills when participating in the group work and group presentation. Peer assessment: skills in giving and receiving constructive feedback. Research skills: data gathering using secondary methods, and data analysis. C & IT skills: engaging in a virtual learning environment; using MS Powerpoint and MS Word packages for presentations and report writing; accessing and using industry databases such as FAME, MINTEL, KEYNOTE. Using Refworks software to develop referencing skills, and Turnitin software to improve writing style.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (PT) 145.00
Assessment (PT) 40.00
Seminars (PT) 12.00
Lectures (PT) 3.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Summative 2: Written essay assessment.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.Exceptions Case No. 93
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Summative 1: Written essay assessment.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. Exceptions Case No. 93