Online Microcredential in Science, Engineering & Maths

Railway Engineering: Design

Discover railway systems, understand industry guidelines, and build design skills to unlock new positions in railway engineering.

Created by

Deakin UniversityDeakin University

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Co-created by

Australian Railway AssociationAustralian Railway Association

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Understand and expand railway infrastructure in Australia

Already a provider of some 165,000 jobs, the Australian railway industry is undergoing massive expansion. That makes it an exciting avenue for civil engineers.

This six-week microcredential from Deakin University will provide an overview of railway systems and an introduction to Australian national standards and guidelines for railway track design.

With the design skills and expertise you gain over the course of the programme, you’ll be empowered to leverage new job postings across Australia.

Gain an introduction to railways systems

The microcredential will start with a broad overview of railway systems. You’ll be introduced to key railway terms and stakeholders, as well as the basics of railway transportation.

You’ll also receive a demonstration of how to use a crucial engineering software used in railway design: Autodesk CIVIL 3D.

Understand railway track structure, superstructure, and substructure

In the second half of the course, you’ll review the essential features of railway track structure.

Starting with a railway track cross-section and covering key elements including drainage, loading, and track geometry, you’ll understand how each feature is designed and delivered.

You’ll also consider elements of track superstructure and substructure, including railway sleepers and ballasts.

Boost your design skills and engineering expertise

The focus of this microcredential is on equipping you with practical skills and expertise for railway design.

You’ll learn how to use engineering software, adopt the right methods and procedures, and solve complex problems for efficient and sustainable design.

At the end of the six weeks, you’ll be ready to take the lead on exciting railway infrastructure projects.

This microcredential is one of a series exploring railway engineering. If you enjoyed it, you may be interested in joining Railway Engineering: Planning and Maintenance.

How will this microcredential help to advance my career?

This practical microcredential is geared towards providing you with the information and skills you need for careers in the railway industry in Australia. You will master relevant national standards and industry guidelines, while also developing skills and strategies for sustainable railway infrastructure design.

Finally, you’ll also be equipped with broader engineering skills that can be used in any field, including the ability to navigate engineering software, communicate information effectively, and solve complex problems through design thinking.

With all of these skills and expertise, you’ll be able to access in-demand civil engineering positions in Australia and beyond.

How will I be assessed?

At the end of the six weeks, you’ll submit an assessment designed to test your learning throughout the microcredential. This will be a geometric and structural design of a railway track connecting two locations on a topographic map following relevant Australian standards and guidelines.

Will I receive university credits?

Upon successful completion of the written assessment, you’ll be awarded 0.5 Postgraduate Level Credits from Deakin University, and a Credly digital badge. You can either earn a stand-alone credential or build up your credits by completing more stackable microcredentials offered by Deakin University and work towards a full postgraduate degree.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds CAROLINE WILKIE: The rail industry is experiencing an unprecedented $154 billion in construction activity over the next 15 years, with the rollout of critical city-shaping projects that will bring great economic, social, and environmental benefits to communities across the country.

Skip to 0 minutes and 24 seconds ASHIM DEBNATH: There is now an urgent need for more qualified professionals to address the multidisciplinary challenges faced in planning, design, and maintenance of railway infrastructure systems.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 seconds Hello. My name is Associate Professor Ashim Debnath. I’m the head of Civil and Environmental Engineering discipline at Deakin University. To address the industry need, Deakin has partnered with the Australasian Railway Association, ARA, to deliver two micro-credentials.

Skip to 1 minute and 5 seconds CAROLINE WILKIE: The ARA is very excited about the opportunity for Deakin University students to gain real-world skills for the rail industry and to learn about the latest technologies and developments. One of the micro-credentials focuses on the design aspects of track infrastructure, and the other explores the importance of planning and maintenance.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 seconds ASHIM DEBNATH: Completion of both courses provides you with one credit point towards future learning of a postgraduate programme at Deakin.

Skip to 1 minute and 33 seconds CAROLINE WILKIE: The courses bring together cutting-edge research and teaching innovation with current and emerging industry-wide practises, and will feature presentations by leading experts in railway operations and infrastructure.

Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds ASHIM DEBNATH: Whether you are excited about pursuing a career in rail or you are already an industry professional looking to upskill, learn about the latest practises, and connect with experts from across the sector, this course is for you.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 second CAROLINE WILKIE: Join us now, and take this unique opportunity to develop or advance a rewarding career at the forefront of rail engineering.

What skills will you learn?

  • Engineering
  • Railway design
  • Design skills
  • Using engineering technology
  • Complex decision-making
  • Communication skills
  • Project management and design

What you will achieve

By the end of the microcredential, you’ll be able to...

  • Select and apply relevant standards and industry guidelines to develop systematic approaches for designing railway infrastructure systems in a variety of scenarios.
  • Utilise appropriate methods and processes for the designing railway projects and operational systems.
  • Apply fundamental principles to analyse complex problems for efficient and sustainable design of railway infrastructure projects.
  • Manage and communicate information effectively in a professional manner.

Are you eligible for this microcredential?

There are no formal requirements for this microcredential, although you should have some background in engineering and an interest in railway design.

Is this microcredential right for you?

This microcredential is designed for aspiring or qualified civil engineers who want to leverage the new opportunities opened up by the expansion of Australia’s railway network.

It will be particularly suitable for Australian interstate engineers who want to upskill in railway engineering.


What happens before, during, and after your microcredential

  • Before learning

    You’ll have access to the welcome area to introduce yourself and familiarise yourself with the microcredential structure and course materials.

  • Course

    From 4 Mar 2024

    Railway Engineering: Design

    Discover railway systems, understand industry guidelines, and build design skills to unlock new positions in railway engineering.

    6 weeks

    10 hours per week

    • Week 1

      • Let's get started
      • Introduction to railway systems
      • Railway track geometric design
      • Railway design tool – Autodesk CIVIL 3D
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 2

      Horizontal and vertical alignment design
      • Welcome to week 2
      • Design of horizontal alignment elements
      • Design of vertical alignment elements
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 3

      Cross-sections and other elements
      • Railway track cross-section and clearance
      • Design of railway surface drainage systems
      • Other geometric elements of railway track
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 4

      Track structure design and track loadings
      • Railway track structural elements and design proces
      • Vertical loads acting on tracks: types, specifications and calculations
      • Lateral loads acting on tracks: a cause of derailments and track lateral resistance
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 5

      Track superstructure and substructure
      • Design of superstructure elements: rail and sleepers 
      • Design of substructure elements: ballast and sub-ballast 
      • Weekly wrap
    • Week 6

      Assessment, summary, and next steps
      • Assessment preparation and submission
      • Course wrap
  • After learning

    You’ll receive a digital credential to demonstrate your learning to recruiters.

What you will receive

0.5 Deakin Credits AQF at Postgraduate level from AQF

You’ll receive a digital Credly badge worth 0.5 postgraduate level credits. With these credits, you can build towards a degree from Deakin University.

Find out how credits work and where you can use them in our FAQs.

A Digital Badge from Deakin University and Credly

image ⬅️ Click this image to see more information about the digital badge you will receive upon successful completion, validated by Credly.

Learn more about this organisation

What is a microcredential?

Microcredentials are designed to upskill you for work in rapidly-growing industries, without the time and cost commitment of a full degree. Your microcredential can stand alone as an independent credential, and some also offer academic credit to use towards a degree.

Learn online with expert instructors

Complete online courses led by experts over multiple weeks with a dedicated group of professionals.

Complete project-based assessments

Test your understanding with online tutor-marked assessments and exercises.

Earn a professional credential

Finish your learning and pass your assessments to gain an accredited credential.

Advance further in your career

Use your microcredential as evidence of your specialised skills and progress further in your industry.

Career-focused learning by Deakin University

Deakin University is one of Australia’s largest universities with more than 61,000 students and over 15,000 online.

  • Established

  • Location

    Melbourne, Australia
  • World ranking

    Top 280Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

Career-focused learning by Australian Railway Association

We are the peak body for the rail sector in Australia and New Zealand.

Delivered by experts

I am an Associate Professor of Transportation Engineering and the Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering Discipline at Deakin University.

I am a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the School of Engineering, Deakin University.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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When would you like to start?

We aim to run our microcredentials every few months. Join on the date that suits you or register to hear about future runs and updates.

  • Join by 16 Aug 2024 at 00:00This microcredential started 4 Mar 2024

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We can accept payments made by card (Visa, Mastercard and American Express) or PayPal via our online system.

You will have 14 days from the day the course starts to apply for a refund. If this Microcredential has any non-refundable costs they will be stated in the ‘Overview’ section above. You can find more information in our cancellation and refund policy.

Microcredentials are designed to fit around your life and timezone.

There may be live events as part of your studies, but these will be recorded and can be watched afterwards if you aren’t online for the live broadcast.

No, microcredentials are designed to be taken anywhere in the world. You won’t need the right to study in the country where the university offering the microcredential is based.

Want to know more? Read the microcredential FAQs, or contact us.