Launch of Singapore’s first Postgraduate Certificate in Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore)

Singapore’s largest railway operator, SMRT Corporation, and the University of Birmingham (UoB), one of the United Kingdom’s top universities for railway research and education, have teamed up to offer a postgraduate certificate in Urban Railway Engineering.

Announcing this today (21 Oct ‘16), SMRT and UoB said the three-year course will be a global first that sees a partnership between a University and a rail operator. It will be jointly administered by the SMRT Institute, which serves as the academic centre for SMRT, and the UoB’s Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), whose railway education programmes attract staff from leading metro operators such as the London Underground and the Taipei Metro.

The course is unique because it provides course participants with perspectives from an institute of higher learning for railway research and education as well as real-world operator experience. The intellectual framework provided by UoB, when strengthened with lessons learned by SMRT in the course of running heavy and light rail systems, will contribute to accelerating the development of our rapidly growing railway engineering workforce. This is achieved by providing a strong academic foundation for course participants, tempered by knowledge of how classroom concepts are applied in real-world situations.

In support of national efforts to deepen railway expertise in Singapore, SMRT Institute and UoB will also offer these programmes to other industry players.

SMRT decided to partner UoB because it is a lead university in the UK in railway research and education that offers degree courses in railway engineering. The BCRRE is renowned amongst metro operators for higher education in railway engineering. The centre, supported by more than 130 academics and researchers, has delivered world class research and thought leadership in railway engineering and offers an expanding portfolio of high-quality education programmes.

The collaboration is also part of the company’s wider effort to support rail engineering talent from NITEC all the way to post graduate level, while exposing them to best-of-class practices. This push to deepen the expertise of SMRT engineering staff is key to SMRT’s strategy to provide better train journeys by improving reliability and maintenance standards.

The three-year course comprises studies in Railway Landscape, Railway Management as well as in four domain-specific areas. These are Railway Command, Control and Communications Systems, Rolling Stock Systems, Permanent Way and Infrastructure Systems, as well as Traction and Power Systems. The curriculum is designed to give participants a thorough appreciation of the railway business and urban railway operations, together with project management, asset management and technology-specific modules according to their work specialisation. The immediate relevance and application will be enriched with the contributions of UoB’s faculty members, its industry lecturers and senior SMRT engineers.

Professor Clive Roberts, who is the Director of BCRRE, said: “We are delighted to be supporting SMRT in the development of their staff. The new Postgraduate Certificate in Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore) is the most advanced qualification that has been developed for any metro or railway operator.”

Ms Kang Huey Ling, Principal/Dean at SMRT Institute, added: “SMRT Institute will continue to partner renowned centres for railway research and education as we expand the spectrum of courses offered by the institute to develop our people to their fullest potential. Our institute has learned much from SMRT’s experience operating heavy and light rail systems over the past decades. We will leverage on experience gained from overcoming engineering and operational challenges running high capacity railway systems so that future engineers and maintenance personnel can benefit from such know-how and serve commuters better.”

The inaugural course will be conducted in Singapore by 12 faculty members from UoB and SMRT, over a two-week period in October and December. A total of 190 SMRT engineers will attend the inaugural course.

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