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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

TRAN5540M Railway Investment Appraisal

15 creditsClass Size: 31

Module manager: Dr Manuel Ojeda Cabral

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Bachelors degree or equivalent non-degree experience, including familiarity with quantitative subjects.

(requirements of the Programme give a guide to the background required: A bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons) in a relevant subject such as Engineering, Maths, Economics, Management (and any other Business-related degree), Environmental science (having a mathematical component), Transportation.

This module is mutually exclusive with

TRAN5630MTransport Investment Appraisal
TRAN5631MEconomic Appraisal and Economic Performance

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

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.


- To provide a critical understanding in the principles and practice of railway investment appraisal.
- To equip students with skills relevant to conducting, critically evaluating and interpreting a wide range of railway investment appraisals and Business Cases.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to demonstrate:

1. Be able to synthesise the key principles and methods of railway investment appraisal, including practical tools;
2. Awareness of the current technical and policy issues surrounding the railway investment appraisal, and relate these issues to emerging technical solutions;
3. An ability to apply this knowledge to a wide range of cases and justify the chosen method

Skills outcomes
- Familiarity with techniques - especially discounted cash flow and risk analysis, valuation and CBA;
- Experience carrying out key elements of appraisal using spreadsheet-based tools;
- Working knowledge of the capability of key appraisal methods (CBA, FA and MCA in particular) that are used in business and government;
- Awareness of the rail industry evidence base (including PDFH) and its role in project appraisals;
- An appreciation of the international context including appraisal systems used worldwide (WebTAG (UK)/EC DG REGIO/EIB RAILPAG/World Bank Toolkit).


- Principles and Techniques for Appraisal, Evaluation and Business Cases
- Valuation of Time, Service Quality, Reliability, Safety and External Factors
- Wider Economic Impacts including Agglomeration and Labour Market Effects
- Role of Railway Appraisal in Government and Decision-Making
- Railway Appraisal Workshop and Examples: Urban/Intercity/High Speed

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours132.00
Total Contact hours18.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Pre-Session Reading (21 hours) - over 2 weeks prior to the module
After the module, private study focuses on the coursework, which explores and tests key themes within the Syllabus (89 hours)

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Workshop on Day 2 of 3 provides opportunity for face to face individual and group-based feedback on learning progression.
Interactive exercises during the module also allow for progress monitoring.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportProject Report 3500 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:56:46


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