Frequently asked questions


Who manages the standards?

The AMB is responsible for managing the content and integrity of the standards, making them available in multiple formats for TAOs and other interested parties.

The suite of network standards for which the AMB is responsible includes AMB published standards and RailCorp engineering standards adopted without amendment.

The AMB is also taking on responsibility for updating and reviewing standards. Adopting international best practice, the AMB will set standards through the implementation of a process to promote collaboration between the AMB and other sectors of the rail industry.

Standards will also undergo periodic review to ensure they are effective and incorporate best practice. To make accessing standards easier, the AMB is investigating the production of standards in a format compatible with mobile technologies.

What is a network standard?

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 AMB 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.

Everything on the NSW transport network, including track, trains, stations, platforms, bridges and tunnels have been built according to a set of engineering standards. These standards are constantly evolving to include new practices and technology, and the NSW transport network evolves along with the standards.

Network standards reflect this evolution. They also specify the physical characteristics of assets, how they are meant to perform and function, as well as the requirements for integration into the network, interoperability and how they are to be maintained and modernised.

Network standards also outline how new and altered transport assets need to be designed to meet the requirements of the Transport for NSW operating environment.

Which standards apply?

The AMB owns all network engineering standards previously published by RailCorp. These standards will remain in effect after 1 July 2013, unless specifically changed by the Asset Management Branch (AMB). In this case the previous version would be superseded by the new AMB standard.

All new asset projects will need to comply with the relevant standards. Where a new standard needs to be applied to an existing asset, work should take place to align the asset to the new standard.

RailCorp engineering standards contain references to organisational processes and positions that are no longer valid in the current Transport for NSW organisational context. However,the technical requirements in those standards are still valid for the Transport for NSW rail environment. An overview of how the organisational processes and positions referenced in RailCorp engineering standards is available in the Guide to interpretation of organisational role and process references in RailCorp standards, however where ambiguities exist, standard users should seek clarification from the relevant contract administrator.

Drawings included within Railcorp engineering standards sub-sections are a snap shot as at mid 2013. Before using or making reference to any of these drawings the user is required to validate the drawing(s) via the Virtual Plan Room (VPR) managed by Sydney Trains.

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

An AMB 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 AMB generally does not intend for standards that are issued during the delivery of a contract to be applied to that contract retrospectively. The AMB 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 reconfirmed on the front cover of a network standard mean?

Reconfirmed means that a review process has been undertaken of the content of a particular network standard, and that the technical content is still current and applicable for use. The status of the document remains current and the date of the completion of reconfirmation is added to the cover page of the document as a notification of the reconfirmation process to users.

What does a network engineering standard not cover?

The AMB definition of a network engineering standard is one issued by the AMB 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 in the AMB section of the TfNSW website. There are two categories of AMB standards:

  • those that have been published by the AMB
  • those that have been derived from RailCorp

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

Only the latest standards at a given point of time are available through the AMB section of the TfNSW website. While most information should be supplied at the time of contracting, the AMB 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 AMB standards. Where would I find AMB standards?

From 1 July 2013, RailCorp standards migrate to the AMB (formerly ASA) and become AMB standards, unless repealed. All AMB and non-repealed RailCorp standards can be found in the AMB section of the TfNSW website.  

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

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

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?

In the AMB section of the TfNSW 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 AMB the only standards body in Transport for NSW?

The AMB 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 AMB.

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 AMB 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 AMB approval. For any questions regarding standards contact the AMB 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 AMB section of the TfNSW website?

Relevant FE Series documents will be published in the AMB section of the TfNSW 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 TAO 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 AMB has published essential competency requirements for undertaking safety critical design, construction, commissioning, operation and disposal tasks for Transport for NSW rail assets. TAOs 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 Technically Assured Organisation (TAO) 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 TAOs. Only one TAO 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 AMB will manage the allocation of configuration change control to TAOs and will have full visibility of changes initiated in the network and their implementation status.

How does AMB manage the visibility of network configuration changes?

The AMB 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 TAOs have?

The TAOs 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 TAOs 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 TAO.

What is the Electrical Distribution Authority?

The Electrical Distribution Authority (EDA) within Sydney Trains operates an electrical distribution network and a 1500V dc rail traction system for the Metropolitan Rail Network. This includes high and low voltage ac aerial lines and cables, traction and distribution substations and 1500V dc overhead wiring systems. The EDA is a network operator, electricity distributor and retail supplier under the Electricity Supply Act 1995 and also an electricity supply authority under the Electricity Safety Act 1945.