SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 15.00
ECTS Credit Points 7.50
Module Code MMN223937
Module Leader Piers Connor
School School for Work Based Education
Subject SCWBE
  • C (May start)
  • A (September start)
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The aim of this module is to support those employed in row operations or seeking a career in row operations, to function effectively in the right operations context, and to provide them with the necessary knowledge and understanding of the elements shown in the syllabus. This module will consider the similarities and differences of railway operations management across a range of countries to identify best practice. Within Heavy Haul for example take - containers docks/distribution/ operations and technical - standard axle loads and break downs. The political and economic imperatives which led to the re-organisation of railways in the European Community will be explored as a comparator with other countries. The concept of interoperability will also be introduced and students will be encouraged to compare and contrast with their own national networks and with others. The module will also consider light rail Metro tram-train and heavy haul operations in the operational context.


During this module students will cover a syllabus developing the following principal areas: -The political and economic drivers behind railway operations; -Types of Railway Systems around the World -Development of Management & Control Systems for Railways; -Technical standards and interoperability; -Comparisons of types of freight operations around the world; -Major railway operations in Europe, Africa, America and Australia and the major players; -Comparisons of Rail Traffic and Operations methods around the World; -Human aspects of railways - Staffing & Customers.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the module student should be able to:1. Critically analyse selected practices as implemented on different railways, assessing their value and identifying opportunities for improvement.2. Evaluate and contrast the ownership funding and value creation within two international organisations (passenger or freight).3. Research and evaluate trends in new technology and research and development relating to traction, train control systems, traffic-control systems, heavy haul freight and intermodal operations in a national or international environment.

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

Books: Designing & Managing Urban Railways, Connor, Harris & Schmid (eds.) University of Birmingham UK and A & N Harris 2015. Planning Freight Railways, N.G. Harris & F. Schmid, A & N Harris, 2003. Managing Railway Operation & Maintenance, Best Practices from KCRC, R Hirsch (ed) University of Birmingham and A & N Harris. 2007. The Railroad, What it is What is Does, 5th Ed. John H Armstrong, Simmonds Boardman 2008. Operator's Handbook, Institution of Railway Operators, 2013 Railway Timetable & Traffic, Hansen, I. A., Pachl, J, (Eds), Eurail Press, 2008. Websites: <> <> <>

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
Seminars (PT) 12.00
Lectures (PT) 3.00
Independent Learning (PT) 105.00
Assessment (PT) 30.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 01 n/a 20.00 50% Proposal (500 words).
Course Work 02 n/a 80.00 50% Operational Synopsis (3000 words) on selected work based activity.