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Aerial view of many trains

Railway Planning and Operations Program

The Railway Planning and Operations program introduces students to the key elements of railway planning and operations.

The course is delivered by Dr Nigel Harris, one of Britain's leading railway planners. With a career beginning in technical advances in fares policy research at Newcastle University, Dr Harris also has substantial experience in network modelling that he gained during eight years at London Underground.

Dr Harris also has in-depth expertise in service planning, operational simulation, demand forecasting, scheme appraisal and railway business planning in many different countries, giving him one of the best understandings of railway economics.

The Railway Planning and Operations Program aims to cover the following topics:

Management & business planning

  • Objectives, efficiency, market positioning;


  • Underlying economic drivers, cyclical issues, externalities: road v rail, operational factors driving profitability;


  • Generalised cost, value of time saved, elasticities, fares policy implications;

Railway Structure & Ownership;

  • Railway privatisation, fragmentation, franchising, funding, failure of Railtrack;

Rail freight

  • Understanding trends, cost structures, and different types of operation;

Safety & Signalling

  • Historical development through to automatic systems, accident analysis, risk management

Infrastructure design

  • Line capacity, train graphs, impact of different numbers of tracks, junction & station layouts;
  • Case study: Fen Line, England;

Timetabling & rostering

  • Appropriate frequencies, conflicting requirements, practical applications, regularity & basic interval timetabling, inter-working, number of trains required, trade-offs with punctuality, staff rostering;

Assignments will focus your knowledge and learnings on generalised costs, train graphs and train requirements.

Dates | Tuesday 7th November, Thursday 9th November and Friday 10th November. 9am – 5pm. 

Early bird $2100 (Closes 7th September 2023).

Full fee $2200 applies for registrations from 8th September 2023. 

All fees are inclusive of GST and including text book An Introduction to Railway Operations Planning, Nigel Harris et el, access to learning material through our e-learning site Canvas and catering (lunch).

The course will be held at the University of Sydney Business School CBD Campus, which is located at Level 17, Stockland Building, 133 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.

Please click here to register.

Group discounts are available for five or more persons from the same organisation. Please email: for further information.

A waiting list will be created when the course is full.

Registrations close 7th October 2023 . For enquiries about late enrolments, please email

Cancellations: A 10% administration fee will be applied to refunds for any cancellation; no refund will be available for cancellations made after 7th October 2023.