Career move or passion project? Many reasons to study rail track engineering

West Coast Wilderness Railway black narrow gauge steam engine puffs clouds of steam

Mark Langdon is a rail heritage veteran who feels he still has more to learn about track engineering.

It’s never too late to upskill – and you never know where it will take you.

The Diploma of Engineering Infrastructure (Rail) is a great vehicle to help you upskill. It’s relevant and accessible to all rail and rail-related engineers and technicians. It's even being picked up by rail interest groups.

Mark Langdon is a 30-year veteran of the rail heritage and preservation movement. He feels he still has something to learn to deliver the best outcomes as rail construction manager on narrow gauge railway projects. Mark states, “I'm the sort of person that has a thirst for knowledge, so I'm going to find out everything I need to know about track.”

Most Australian rail preservation groups operate ‘under the radar’, although enthusiasm is strong. Members are often rail retirees who like to keep their hand in with rail projects. Rail preservation also attracts people who appreciate the rail industry’s importance to Australia’s past and future. The Diploma of Engineering Infrastructure (Rail) comes in here as a link to formalise knowledge and upskill anyone, even a volunteer.
We spoke with Mark about his motivation for study, and how he’s applied his increased knowledge so far.

Appreciating the ‘big picture’
Mark’s latest project is designing and constructing a narrow gauge railway with six turnouts and almost a kilometre of track. As the project leader, Mark is translating the railway’s design from standard to 2-foot gauge. Not one to do things by halves, Mark decided to complete the Diploma to round out his knowledge and fill in the gaps.

Following Mark’s Certificate II in Rail Infrastructure, the Diploma is a helpful update and expansion to Mark’s experience. He says the Diploma has extended the knowledge gained over his years of volunteering. The result? Understanding track interdependencies and the intricate interactions of wheel and track. Mark noted, “I’ve realised what a small cog in the wheel I am in my everyday work, and I look at everything differently now”.

Gaining industry-wide perspectives
Studying alongside a cohort of rail infrastructure industry technicians and engineers has been a great help to Mark. He finds that "even the smallest technical details now explain why something bigger works the way it does.” 

While Mark’s reason for study is self-improvement, he’s pleased that his Diploma skills will help other rail preservation groups. He’s already had approaches to share his new knowledge through industry networks and consult on other projects. 
Accessible entry
Mark hasn’t undertaken formal studies for twenty years, but he found access to the course straightforward. Following the recommendation of a friend who works for Sydney Trains, Mark enrolled through The University of Tasmania (UTAS).

Although interaction in the Diploma is currently online only, Mark still finds the content engaging and relevant. The lecturers are approachable and happy to share their broad expertise and experience at every opportunity. “I have found the material to be well-presented and well-structured, although I do miss the face to face component”, noted Mark.

Looking to upskill?
If you’re looking to upskill or round out your working knowledge of rail track infrastructure, the Diploma of Engineering Infrastructure (Rail) is ideal. The nationally-accredited Diploma is delivered by UTAS, in partnership with Engineering Education Australia and Transport for NSW. 

The next intake, starting 22 February 2021, is now available for enrolment through UTAS. Find out more about eligibility and requirements>>