KB7013 - Highway and Railway Engineering

What will I learn on this module?

The module content includes key elements appropriate to Highways and Railway engineering, including topics such as:
• Route selection
• Design of horizontal and vertical alignment
• Flexible and rigid pavements design and specification
• Railway permanent way components and design
• Railway switch and crossing design
• Highway and railway drainage and earthworks
• Sustainable transport options
• Maintenance techniques and temporary works

How will I learn on this module?

The module will include a range of learning materials such as presentations, notes, tutorial questions for you to answer, and other resources such as short video clips will be used to assist your understanding of some of some of the more difficult ideas and theories, spreadsheets and specific software-related files. All these resources will be arranged in a convenient learning journey, giving you a clear expectation of the material to be studied and tasks to be completed on a week-by-week basis. You will be expected to complete the appropriate tasks in your weekly journey before either attending classes or taking part in online sessions. You will take part in lectures to develop your understanding of the material and in seminars to support your understanding of the theory. You will participate in face to face and/or online workshops, to discuss the module material and coursework tasks with your tutors and with other students. You will participate in group work in laboratory classes to further cement your understanding of highway materials. Where possible, your learning will be supplemented with field work and external visits to observe highways and railways in practice. There may be occasions within the semester where normal teaching will be suspended to allow your learning to be supplemented by a range of activities such as design workshops, guest presentations, professional body events, site visits and field work.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported by staff in seminars and workshops, and in practical sessions, giving you ample opportunity to ask questions to clarify and deepen your understanding of the module material, as well as to seek specific help, for example with assessment tasks. At other times, you will have regular access to University academic staff online, including the use of discussion boards and chat rooms in the University’s virtual learning environment (VLE). This will allow you to access support regularly at convenient times.

The module and the wider programme teams will also provide a supportive approach, enabling you to quickly and easily access and speak to any member of staff as required.

The University Library and other student services also offer a variety of academic skills training both online and face to face, which you can access as needed.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate understanding of the design of highway and railway infrastructure assets

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
2. Critically evaluate the suitability of different materials for use in highway and railway construction and maintenance
3. Specify appropriate maintenance regimes for the long-term management of highway and railway infrastructure

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. Critically evaluate options for sustainable transport

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment will be through two individual coursework assignments each of 3000 word equivalent length and each worth 50% of the module marks.

Coursework 1 will focus on the planning and design of highway and/or railway infrastructure and will cover MLOs 1 and 4.

Coursework 2 will focus on the maintenance of highway and/or railway infrastructure and will cover MLOs 2 and 3.

You will have the opportunity to complete practice assessments which do not count towards your final mark, but test and check you understanding of key subjects. Accordingly, during seminars, you will solve problems and engage in discussion. The intention is to present an open learning forum where you are safely challenged to explore the boundaries of creativity within the subject area. Verbal formative feedback will be provided by your tutor during seminar sessions.

Students will be given feedback on the summative assessments which they can feed forward into their career upon graduation.





Module abstract

This module will equip you with engineering judgement and understanding to support your employability. Successfully completing the module will provide you with the engineering judgement to defend the overall design, specification, maintenance, and asset management of highway and railway infrastructure. You will evaluate geometric highway design parameters, and apply the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges’ standards and guidance documentation to produce safe highway scheme designs. You will be able to appraise specifications of materials and designs for flexible and rigid pavements and judge procedures for highway maintenance and asset management. You will gain an understanding of the components and arrangement of railway permanent way and design alignments to RSSB standards and you will learn to select appropriate materials for permanent way design and specify appropriate maintenance tasks and regimes. You will also gain an understanding of how structural and geotechnical considerations encountered in earlier study interface with highway and railway design. The subjects covered by the module are informed by current academic and industry research. The latest technology will be used to deliver this module; all resources will be available online and video clips will be used to assist your understanding of some of the more difficult ideas and theories. There will be opportunity throughout the delivery of the module to attend face-to-face or online seminars, where you can practice solving typical design problems and gain feedback from your module tutors. This feedback will help prepare you for the module’s formally marked coursework.

Course info

UCAS Code H201

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years Full Time or 5 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


Useful Links

Find out about our distinctive approach at 

Admissions Terms and Conditions

Fees and Funding

Admissions Policy

Admissions Complaints Policy