Transport standards FAQs



What are network standards?

Network engineering standards are documents detailing the requirements to ensure assets, products, services and systems for the NSW rail network are safe, reliable and perform as intended.

Standards set the parameters within which assets can be built or altered, taking into account the physical, functional and performance characteristics of assets and their components. 

The suite of network standards include ASA published standards, RailCorp standards adopted without amendment, Australian standards, and international standards identified as applicable to the Transport for NSW rail environment. All standards will be periodically reviewed and updated where appropriate.

When does an ASA issued standard become effective, and can a new or changed standard be applied retrospectively to an existing contract?

An ASA standard becomes effective from the date it is issued unless an effective date that is different from the issue date is stipulated on the front cover of the document.

The ASA generally does not intend for standards that are issued during the delivery of a contract to be applied to that contract retrospectively. The ASA nonetheless considers it appropriate for project owners and contractors to consider applying an improved standard to an existing contract if a benefit to TfNSW can be realised by doing so. 

The retrospective application of a standard is required only in situations where the requirements of a new or revised standard address a critical safety issue. The need for retrospectivity will then be stated in the application section of that document.

What does a network engineering standard not cover?

The ASA definition of a network engineering standard is one issued by the ASA and which describes the functional, physical and performance requirements of NSW rail assets, taking into account technical risks associated with the rail environment.

In this context, standards do not include business requirements or specifics of assets that are not directly related to performance, safety and reliability, such as the colour of train seats. All standards need to be read in conjunction with contractual scoping documents.

Where would I find standards applicable to my contract with Transport for NSW?

All standards can be found on the ASA standards website. There are two categories of ASA standards:

  • those that have been published by the ASA
  • those that have been derived from RailCorp. 

If there are inconsistencies between an ASA standard and a RailCorp standard, the ASA standard takes precedence.

Only the latest standards at a given point of time are available through the ASA website. While most information should be supplied at the time of contracting, the ASA will endeavour to assist in supplying appropriate standards for contracts in effect before 1 July 2013 which require compliance with standards applicable at the time.

My contract with Transport for NSW requires me to comply with ASA standards. Where would I find ASA standards?

From 1 July 2013, RailCorp standards migrate to the ASA and become ASA standards, unless repealed. All ASA and non-repealed RailCorp standards can be found on the ASA website.  

RailCorp and ASA standards will both be applicable. As RailCorp standards are reviewed, they will be replaced by ASA standards and the superseded RailCorp standards will be archived.

In instances where a requirement in a newly published ASA standard conflicts with a requirement of a RailCorp standard, the ASA standards takes precedence. If you become aware of any conflicting requirements, contact the ASA.

Under my contract with Transport for NSW, I have to comply with RailCorp standards that refer to administrative processes and positions of RailCorp that no longer exist.  How do I relate to those references in the new standards operating environment?

On the ASA website there is a document which describes the relationship of commonly used position and process references in RailCorp standards to processes and positions in the new standards operating environment; refer to the Guide to interpretation of organisational role and process references in RailCorp standards. This applies to contracts commencing after 1 July 2013.  Where ambiguities exist clarification should be sought from the Principal representative to the contract.

Contracts that commenced prior to 1 July 2013 must seek direction from their Principal's representative for the contract.

Is the ASA the only standards body in Transport for NSW?

The ASA is the only body with authority to issue network engineering standards, i.e. standards applicable to NSW rail infrastructure and rolling stock assets. Providers of engineering services for NSW rail assets must comply with the applicable standards. This is mandatory unless the requirement outlined in the standard is waived by the ASA.

I am drafting a contract for procurement of new rolling stock. Which standards would the suppliers be required to adhere to in designing rolling stock?

The ASA has produced a set of reference standards that apply to rolling stock design. These include Australian and international standards as well as adopted RailCorp standards that apply to various components of rolling stock and minimum operating standards. These set the baseline standard requirements for purchase of new rolling stock. Any supplier proposing to deviate from a referenced standard must make a case and will require ASA approval. For any questions regarding standards contact the ASA standards team at

RailCorp passenger rolling stock standards (FE series) are currently not available on the RailCorp engineering internet. Will they be available through the ASA website?

Relevant FE Series documents will be published on the ASA website and will form part of the reference standards for rolling stock procurement.

My contract requires me to comply with RailCorp engineering design procedures. Are they still applicable?

From 1 July 2013, those engineering procedures are no longer applicable for new contracts as they have been replaced with AEO guidelines. Contracts that were in force before 30 June 2013, should have been novated to either Transport for NSW or to Sydney Trains. The engineering procedures that apply to existing contracts will be the same, but will be administered by Sydney Trains or Transport Projects division of Transport for NSW, rather than RailCorp.

What happens with engineering competency frameworks and engineering authority?

The ASA has published essential competency requirements for undertaking safety critical design, construction, commissioning, operation and disposal tasks for Transport for NSW rail assets. AEOs must manage competency frameworks within their organisations to ensure that staff can carry out these and any other engineering tasks under their contract with Transport for NSW. The Authorised Engineering Organisations (AEO) concept has replaced engineering authority.

Some staff will still require NSW rail specific qualifications and competencies. These can be obtained from Transport for NSW Learning and Development.

What is happening with configuration change control? How is network configuration managed?

Network configuration change control authority is exercised by a Configuration Management Committee (CMC). This committee will then delegate the network configuration change control authority to appropriate AEOs. Only one AEO will have configuration control of any defined part of the rail network at a given time.  

This ensures that at any point in time there will be only one party with delegated authority over a particular section of the network. The ASA will manage the allocation of configuration change control to AEOs and will have full visibility of changes initiated in the network and their implementation status.

How does ASA manage the visibility of network configuration changes?

The ASA manages the configuration of the NSW rail network, and any proposed changes must be approved by the Configuration Management Committee (CMC). Each proposed change will be recorded in the configuration management system and managed through the appropriate processes. For more information on how configuration control will be managed contact

What level of configuration management responsibility do AEOs have?

The AEOs undertaking project development will have configuration management responsibilities assigned to them with regard to the project systems they are developing. They will also have authority regarding network configuration change control if they are undertaking construction work that requires changes to the network.

Maintenance AEOs will also have network configuration management responsibility for the part of the network they are maintaining.

What happens with RailCorp technical reviews and design acceptance? Who will accept designs in future?

Design acceptance is considered a project milestone and is accepted by the representative managing the contract and acceptance will be based on assurances provided by the AEO.