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Rail Industry Fundamentals
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Rail Industry Fundamentals

2-Day Training Course: THE Essential Techno-Commercial Introduction to Rail. Build your knowledge of commercial, regulatory, operational & technical aspects of the rail industry in Australia. Develop capability to effectively engage with rail professionals & analyse rail industry issues through appreciation of the drivers, methodologies & terminologies that underpin simple & complex rail systems

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Key Learning Objectives

At the end of the course participants will have developed enhanced capability to:

  • Understand the extent and economic role of the Australian rail industry
  • Why rail? Appreciate the appropriate parameters necessary for rail vs other transport modes
  • Have insight to the complexity and constraints of rail operations
  • Comprehend the basic design and functional working of trains, track and control systems
  • Professionally communicate within the industry through understanding terminologies and their underlying concepts and logic
  • Understand the opportunities and pitfalls of engagement with the rail industry
  • Provide pathways to engage with the rail industry as customers, owners, operators or suppliers

About the Course

Newly revised and refreshed, this 2-day intensive training course is designed to equip newcomers to the rail industry with a comprehensive overview of all the key aspects of their new industry.

The course addresses the economic role of rail in Australia, various business and strategic elements, then takes a look at the important operational elements from both a freight and passenger rail perspective.

The course will explain at an introductory level more technical aspects, such as the technical functions of track, track design, rolling stock components, signalling and operational control systems, electrical traction and other elements that make up the rail environment.

Rail safety is an important aspect to be aware of, the latest in terms of rail safety regulation and safety objectives such as ALARP, SFAIRP and Fit for purpose.

The course will conclude with more on some commercial aspects and considerations of the rail industry.

Overall, participants should be able to recount an informed and well-rounded understanding of the rail industry and its importance as a transport mode in the Australian context.

Who Will Benefit

This course will benefit all those new to the rail industry, or working with the rail industry and would like a more solid understanding of how it all fits together

  • Newcomers to the rail industry including graduates
  • Staff in support (finance, marketing, project management, administration etc) roles
  • Those from businesses tangential to freight and passenger transportation
  • Government advisors, consultants, transport analysts, planners and regulators


Use this course to help fulfil your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) educational requirements to retain your professional/chartered status. Contact your relevant association to learn how

Terms & Conditions

To read the training course terms and conditions read more here

Course Outline


  • Australian rail economic role, business types and operating networks, along with key metrics
  • Rail systems and basic system components
  • Why rail? Rail vs other transport modes
  • Concepts of business models and ownership structures (e.g. horizontal and vertical integration)
  • Roles of government and private sector, including competition issues
  • Who is the customer?
  • Operational heart of railways
  • Transport and operational interfacing
  • Specificity of rail operational, environmental and configuration context
  • Rail culture and legacy institutional heritage
  • Business performance measures
  • Where is the rail industry heading?


  • Rail freight business services
  • Freight commodities and associated train types
  • Basics of track alignment and layouts
  • Concepts of traction power, locomotives, train configuration and braking
  • Freight operating concepts
  • Freight terminals and operation
  • Timetables, access paths and charges
  • Freight operating protocols
  • Servicing, workshops and support industry
  • The various personnel roles
  • Freight operational performance measures
  • Freight projects and technical development
  • EXERCISE: Developing a mine to port railway


  • Passenger transport services and train configuration types, including performance metrics
  • Business vs community roles / role of subsidy and transport integration
  • Concepts of journey, customer experience and perceptions, including passenger information
  • Concepts of ticketing and customers services impact on operations (e.g. paid/unpaid areas, presentation and graffiti)
  • Business service models
  • Passenger line route design features
  • Station and interchange design features
  • Passenger operational concepts
  • Timetables: from simplicity to complexity
  • Stabling / yards
  • Issues of mixed freight and passenger services (corridor rights?)
  • Concepts of reliability and reliability management (Why is my train late?)
  • Developments in passenger operations
  • High Speed Rail: Suitability issues for Australia?
  • EXERCISE: Commuter rail line design and operational management


  • Technical functions of track
  • Track alignment concepts
  • Track structure concepts: How it works
  • Rolling stock components and design function
  • Track – train dynamics
  • Speeds and curving
  • Critical wheel / rail interface
  • Continuous welded rail
  • Track layout design
  • Tunnels, formation and bridges
  • Specialised rail support equipment (What do those yellow machines do?)
  • Asset management and standards
  • Developments in track and rolling stock
  • EXERCISE: Track layout design


  • Development of signalling systems
  • Basic principles and components of signalling systems
  • Role of communications systems
  • Train control systems
  • Principle of fail-safe
  • Operational control systems and safe working procedures
  • Automatic operation and control, including driverless trains
  • Recent developments in signalling and train control systems


  • Traction types
  • Diesel electric locomotives
  • Electric traction
  • Electric traction fixed infrastructure design features and issues
  • Other forms of traction
  • Energy and climate change issues


  • Rail vs OHS safety management and regulation
  • Rail specific hazards
  • Rail safety management systems
  • Rail safety accreditation and regulation
  • Rail safety objectives: ALARP, SFAIRP, Fit for purpose
  • Human factors and fatigue
  • Safety assurance
  • Rail accidents


  • Opportunities and pitfalls of rail industry engagement
  • Accessing freight services
  • Owning or managing trains and fixed infrastructure
  • Service contracts
  • Financing
  • Rail corridor development
  • Supplying rail equipment
  • Undertaking rail projects and contracts
  • Personal professional preparedness for engagement

On-site & in-house training

Deliver this course how you want, where you want, when you want – and save up to 40%! 8+ employees seeking training on the same topic?

Talk to us about an on-site/in-house & customised solution.


Still have a question?

Sushil Kunwar
Training Consultant
+61 (0)2 9080 4395

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