Railway Operations, Management and Policy MSc

The following modules are available in 2023/24 for Railway Operations, Management and Policy MSc and are examples of the modules you are likely to study. All Modules are subject to change. You will study 180 credits in total. 

Compulsory modules

Shaping Future Transport Systems - 15 credits
The Shaping Transport Futures module will provide students with an understanding of the fundamental relationships involved in transport systems, their interactions with other sectors, and future opportunities and challenges. It will provide understanding of the case for interventions in managing transport systems. Students will be able to understand and contrast international approaches to transport planning and management and develop appreciation of the contribution of different roles in the delivery of transport sector implementations. Finally, students will be equipped with the fundamental techniques necessary to work in inter-disciplinary teams, which will prepare them for the Transport Integrated Project module delivered in the following semester

Transport Data Collection and Analysis - 15 credits
This module provides fundamentals of data collection and analysis in the context of transport. It addresses the loop covering research questions, data requirements, data collection/generation, data analysis, and interpretation.

Railway Operations and Management - 15 credits
This module provides the key knowledge and understanding needed to manage and operate the railway on a day-to-day basis. It recognises the interplay between passenger needs, safety and system performance.

Railway Policy - 15 credits
This module provides students with an international perspective on rail policy, reflecting both theoretical contributions and actual policy practice. The first part of the module introduces the role of rail and rail policy in the context of the wider transport policy landscape, together with the essential understanding of the economics of rail supply (in particular, the problem of natural monopoly and the role of economics of scale and density and rail). Similarities and differences between rail and other network industries are considered. The second part of the module looks in depth at specific rail regulatory and competition policy topics, with examples from around the world. The final part considers the future of rail in the context of changing travel behaviour and needs, and the interaction with innovation across modes.

Railway Investment Appraisal - 15 credits
Starting from the principles of cost-benefit analysis and Business Cases, this module covers the key methods and techniques of railway investment appraisal. It includes worked examples and case studies from the UK and internationally, featuring urban, regional and high speed rail. Recent innovations in appraisal methods are covered, and ex post evaluation is explored. The role of railways in the spatial economy is addressed using recent examples. Current major infrastructure projects are used to aid discussion. The link with project finance, and links with decision-making and transport policy are considered.

Transport Dissertation - 60 credits
The Transport Dissertation module gives you the opportunity to develop and apply research and/or design skills in a specialist topic within the transport discipline. You’ll develop an in-depth knowledge of your chosen subject area and demonstrate your findings in a 15,000-word report.

Transport Integrated Project - 15 credits
This module will be run in the second semester and aims to enhance a range of personal and professional related skills (technical applied transport skills and project management skills) by placing students in a multi-disciplinary project group (to reflect the range of transport masters programmes) and asking them to undertake a specific transport project as suggested by a client (an external organisation or ITS). 


Optional modules include:

Sustainable Spatial Planning and Analysis - 15 credits
This module will make students aware of the key aspects of integrated transport and land-use planning which contribute to more sustainable outcomes. Transport is an inherently spatial phenomenon, which cannot be divorced from considerations of urban form, spatial planning, social processes and people. The module delivers this understanding by developing beyond basic generic GIS skills and applies leading edge techniques in GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and spatial analysis which can be deployed to explore contemporary planning problems, alongside theoretical considerations. Students will develop their skills to access, analyse and display spatial data to facilitate advanced policy analysis informed by the theoretical underpinnings of sustainable land use and transport planning taught in the module.

Green Logistics - 15 credits
The module re-appraises supply chain logistics using the latest thinking and endeavours to offer possibilities to reduce the environmental impact.

Analysing Transport and Society - 15 credits
Understanding travel: social analysis module offers the opportunity to explore key issues in the transport sector and wider society and to develop a social analytical framework. This module aims to equip Masters Degree students with the skills and knowledge necessary to apply a social analysis in practice and policy in the transport sector in both professional environments and higher academic studies. This module will be taught by an expert team using a mix of teaching methods and materials including online activities and practical ‘hands-on’ workshops designed to engage and stimulate learning.

Global Transferability of Policies - 15 credits
Geographic transferability is defined as the process through which a policy that has been implemented in one location is subsequently implemented in a second location. It is of particular interest when the characteristics of the second location are highly different to those in the first location. The module addresses various aspects of policy transfer through a combination of state-of-the art theory and up-to-date information on specific case studies.

Choice Modelling and Stated Preference Survey Design - 15 credits
Choice modelling techniques are used widely to produce insights into choice behaviour, often with a view to providing guidance to policy makers, e.g. as an input to cost-benefit analyses. The models can be estimated either on data containing real observed choices, or data collected in hypothetical choice scenarios. The latter approach, known as stated preference data, is widespread and an appealing solution in cases where data on real choices are difficult to obtain, for example when looking at behaviour in the presence of a new transport mode. This course covers the essential principles involved in the specification, estimation and interpretation of choice models, covering topics from basic structures right through to state-of-the-art techniques. Similarly, the course covers different available techniques for generating designs for stated preference surveys, and also addresses the topics of data collection.

Railway Signalling and Control - 15 credits
This module starts by developing the objectives of railway signalling and train control systems, including key objectives of safety and capacity. It then focuses on a range of current and future systems of railway signalling, explaining their key characteristics and the principles underlying them. The module then moves on to consider the main methods used for train control on railway systems, again considering both current and emerging methods. For both signalling systems and train control systems, consideration is given to methods used across a range of railway operating environments, including high-speed rail, traditional heavy rail, metro rail systems and light rail and tramway systems.


More information for this course is available in the course catalogue.