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SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
49795  National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Civil Engineering Construction 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
TETA - Transport Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
National Certificate  Field 12 - Physical Planning and Construction  Civil Engineering Construction 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  138  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Reregistered  SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose of the Qualification:

The purpose of this qualification is to ensure competent performance in railway track construction and maintenance, thereby enhancing safety and reliability in the field of Civil Engineering Construction and Maintenance. It will also facilitate increased access of learners to this field.
For those who have been in the workplace for a long time, this Qualification can be used to assess and recognise workplace skills acquired without the benefit of formal education and training.
This Qualification describes the learning outcomes required to effectively participate in a structured workplace.
For education and training providers, this Qualification provides guidance for the development of appropriate learning programmes and assessment documentation.
For employers, this Qualification enables skills gaps to be identified and addressed ensuring that productivity levels are increased and business objectives achieved.
The primary skills that are recognised in this Qualification relate to the construction of railway lines and turnouts, as well as the maintenance of the railway track.
The Qualification will lay a foundation for future career advancement to supervisory and management Qualifications within this field.

Rationale for the Qualification:

This Qualification is for those persons who are involved in activities relating to the construction and/or maintenance of railway track. Such activities can be performed in any of the following contexts:

Public Rail Transport, including Freight and Passenger Transport
Private Sidings
Mining operations
Port operations

The combination of learning outcomes in this Qualification will provide the learner with applied competence with regard to Rail Construction and Maintenance activities. This Qualification recognises skills, knowledge and values relevant to the workplace. It is suitable for learners who:
  • Have attended courses and then apply the knowledge gained to activities in the workplace.
  • Are already employed and have acquired the skills and knowledge without attending formal courses.
  • Participate in skills programmes or learnerships and the appropriate work experience.
  • Acquire the learning through any combination of the above.

    The demand for the Qualification stems from the following factors:
  • The growing need to qualify learners who can contribute to the creation and maintenance of a national rail transport network, which is affordable, reliable, available and safe.
  • Unique environmental circumstances in South Africa, including extreme climatic conditions, which necessitate the continuous maintenance of the rail network.
  • The continuous introduction of new technologies in the Rail Construction and Maintenance environment.
  • The importance of Rail Transport as one of the key transportation modes in the country.

    The learning pathway for a learner within the Rail Construction and Maintenance Industry is outlined below:
  • NQF Level 2:

    "National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance" (Generic Qualification, with specialization in Rail Construction/Maintenance).

    NQF Level 3:

    "National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance".

    NQF Level 4:

    "FETC: Supervision of Construction Activities: Rail Construction and Maintenance" (Generic Qualification, specialization in Rail Construction/Maintenance).

    NQF Level 5:

    "National Certificate: Management of Construction Activities: Rail Construction and Maintenance" (Generic Qualification, with specialization in Rail Construction/Maintenance).

    As a contribution to socio-economic transformation, learners will be able to undergo RPL-assessment, thereby receiving recognition for previous learning and experience. The employability and career prospects of learners holding this Qualification will be enhanced.

    Benefits to the economy would include improved employment prospects for previously unskilled persons.

    The availability of a safe, reliable and affordable Rail network will have a major impact on the economy of the country. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    It is assumed that learners are already competent in the following:
  • Mathematical Literacy at NQF Level 2
  • Communication at NQF Level 2

    Recognition of Prior Learning:

    The Qualification may be obtained through the process of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Learners who have met the requirements of any Unit Standard in this Qualification may apply to the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body (ETQA) for Recognition of Prior Learning and will be assessed against the assessment criteria and specific outcomes for the relevant Unit Standard/s. ETQA bodies are responsible for facilitating the implementation of the RPL, and must register trained assessors against specific Unit Standards. Learners are prepared for assessment and assessed against the Unit Standard by such registered assessors. Learners declared competent against a specific Unit Standard will receive ETQA certificates indicating their achievements and this information will also be recorded on the National Learner Record Database (NLRD).

    Access to the Qualification:

    Access to this qualification is open to all learners, bearing in mind the learning assumed to be in place detailed in this qualification.

    However learners within the public rail sector have to complete the Unit Standards listed in the table below, prior to being granted access to this Qualification. These Unit Standards deal with "train working rules". This prerequisite is in accordance with the safety requirements of the Rail Regulator for public rail transport. Advances in track maintenance technology and associated requirements have increased the need for learners in the public rail sector to achieve all these "train working rules".

    This access requirement does not apply to learners within the Private rail transport sector.

    Unit Standards relating to "train working rules" are the following:
  • 14594 - Utilise semaphore signals/indicators for rail movement on double lines
  • 14607 - Utilise semaphore signals/indicators for rail movement on single lines
  • 14611 - Utilise colour-light signalling for rail movement
  • 14621 - Perform crossing of trains
  • 14608 - Utilise pilot working of train control for safe movement on rail
  • 14622 - Utilise telegraph order system for safe movement on rail
  • 14668 - Utilise the radio train order system of train control for safe movement on rail
  • 14671 - Utilise track warrant system of train control for safe movement on rail
  • 14637 - Utilise Van Schoor method of train control for safe movement on rail
  • 14634 - Utilise various fixed and temporary trackside indicators for rail movement
  • 14670 - Utilise wooden train staff system of train control for safe movement on rail 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    The Qualification consists of a Fundamental, Core and Elective Components.

    To be awarded the Qualification learners are required to obtain a minimum of 138 Credits as detailed below.

    Fundamental Component

    The Fundamental Component consists of Unit Standard in Communication and Mathematical Literacy to the value of 36 credits all of which are compulsory.

    Core Component

    The Core Components consists of Unit Standards to the value of 100 credits are compulsory.

    Elective Component

    Learners are to choose Elective Unit Standard to the value of at least 2 credits so as to attain a minimum of 138 credits for the qualification. 

    EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Afford on-track protection
    2. Construct a railway line, as well as a standard turnout
    3. Measure track Geometry in order to determine track condition and restore track alignment and super elevation
    4. Maintain and/or replace rails, as well as turn outs and turnout components
    5. Destress rails
    6. Maintain clearances, safety devices and markers

    Critical cross-field outcomes:
  • Identify and solve problems.
    Problems experienced with resources, including materials, tools and equipment, are timeously and effectively resolved.
  • Work effectively with all role-players.
    Sound relations are maintained with relevant role-players within the rail environment.
  • Employ self-management and reflect on own performance and areas for improvement.
    Suggestions are made with regard to improvement of own performance.
  • Manage information effectively.
    Drawings, job instructions and specifications are accurately interpreted and correctly utilized.
  • Communicate effectively with all role-players.
    Written communication skills are demonstrated by means of the accurate and legible completion of relevant documentation and reports.
  • Demonstrate scientific and technological competence.
    Technologies used within rail construction and maintenance, are correctly understood and applied.
  • Understand contextual world systems.
    The significance of the permanent way in the broader rail industry, is explained. 

  • ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    1.
  • On track protection is afforded and discontinued in accordance with company procedures and safety requirements.

    2.
  • A railway line is constructed and handed over in accordance with the design plan and specifications, as well as company procedures.
  • A standard turnout is prepared, laid out and built in accordance with the turnout plan and instructions.

    3.
  • Vertical and horizontal alignment deviation measurements are performed and interpreted on straight track and on curves, as well as super elevation on curves, in order to determine track condition.
  • Track alignment and super elevation is restored, using the appropriate corrective action and restoring method/s.

    4.
  • Rails and rail joints are maintained and /or replaced in accordance with relevant track standards and specifications. > Turnouts and turnout components are replaced and /or maintained in accordance with relevant track standards and specifications.

    5.
  • Rails are destressed (continuous welded rails, as well as jointed rails) conventionally (manually), as well as by using a rail tensioner and creep is repaired in track in accordance with relevant track standards and specifications.

    6.
  • Horizontal and vertical clearances, safety devices and markers are maintained in accordance with relevant specifications.

    Integrated assessment:

    Because assessment practices must be open, transparent, fair, valid, and reliable and ensure that no learner is disadvantaged in any way whatsoever, an integrated assessment approach is incorporated into the Qualification.

    Learning, teaching and assessment are inextricably lined. Whenever possible, the assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values shown in the unit standards should be integrated.

    Assessment of the communication, mathematical literacy should be conducted in conjunction with other aspects and should use authentic Rail Construction contexts wherever possible.

    A variety of methods must be used in assessment and tools and activities must be appropriate to the context in which the learner is working. Where it is not possible to assess the learner in the workplace or on-the-job, simulations, case studies, role-plays and other similar techniques should be used to provide a context appropriate to the assessment.

    The term 'Integrated Assessment' implies that theoretical and practical components should be assessed together. During integrated assessments the assessor should make use of formative and summative assessment methods and assess combinations of practical, applied, foundational and reflective competencies.

    Assessors and moderators should make use of a range of formative and summative assessment methods. Assessors should assess and give credit for the evidence of learning that has already been acquired through formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience.

    Assessment should ensure that all specific outcomes, embedded knowledge and Critical Cross-Field outcomes are evaluated. The assessment of the Critical Cross-Field outcomes should be integrated with the assessment of specific outcomes and embedded knowledge. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    United Kingdom:

    The National Certificate in Rail Construction and Maintenance has been benchmarked against the corresponding Qualifications on the Qualification Framework in the United Kingdom. The following emanated from the benchmarking process:

    Title of corresponding Qualification:
    NVQ in Rail Transport Engineering Maintenance, Levels 3.

    Differences with South African Qualification:

    The UK Qualification incorporates the different railway engineering disciplines into one Qualification, i.e. a generic core with different streams representing the various disciplines, such as Signal Maintenance, Signal Faulting, Communications, Permanent way, Electrification, Traction and Rolling stock and Plant. In the South African model, each of the railway engineering disciplines are reflected in separate, specialized Qualifications.

    Similarities with South African Qualification:
    There are a lot of similarities with regard to the individual units or competencies included in this Qualification.

    These include competencies relating to:
  • Establishing and maintaining protection.
  • Health and Safety.
  • Diagnosing faults.
  • Coordinating activities with others.
  • Contributing to improving the organisation's working practices.
  • Establishing and maintaining possession of a line during engineering activities.
  • Contributing to the control of trains and other rail borne vehicles.
  • Using small plant.
  • Planning activities and preparing resources.
  • Reinstating the work area upon completion of activities.

    New Zealand:

    The National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance has been benchmarked against the corresponding Qualification and individual Unit Standards registered by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. The following emanated from the benchmarking process:

    Title of corresponding Qualification
    National Certificate in Rail Infrastructure, Level 3.

    Differences with South African Qualification:

    The aim of the New Zealand Qualification is to provide recognition for a broad range of competencies related to the maintenance of track, structures and signals within the rail industry. The South African equivalent excludes signalling and represents a more specialized range of competencies, relating to the construction and maintenance of railway track.

    Similarities with South African Qualification:
    There are a lot of similarities with regard to the individual units or competencies included in this Qualification.
    These include competencies relating to:
  • Fundamental competencies, i.e. Communication and Mathematics.
  • Health and Safety.
  • An understanding of the rail transport industry.
  • Track protection.
  • The use and care of a range of tools.

    Individual Unit Standards registered on the New Zealand Framework, which correlate with some of the South African Unit Standards, include:
  • Installing/replacing rails.
  • Installing/replacing sleepers.
  • Maintaining track.
  • Undertaking track ballast activities.
  • Establishing or correcting rail stress.
  • Maintaining rail bridges.
  • Maintaining track geometry by measuring, recording and analyzing track parameters.
  • Conducting inspections.
  • Operating rail service vehicles. 

  • ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    Horizontal articulation is possible with:
  • National Certificate: Rail Operations at NQF Level 3

    Vertical articulation is possible with:
  • National Certificate: Management of Construction activities at NQF Level 4
  • National Certificate: Rail Operations at NQF Level 4
  • National Certificate: Supervision of Construction Processes at NQF Level 4 

  • MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must be registered as an assessor with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this Qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant Education, Training, Quality, Assurance (ETQA) Body, or by an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA, according to the ETQA's policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the Qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise. Moderation should also encompass achievement of the competence described both in individual Unit Standards as well as the integrated competence described in the Qualification.
  • Anyone wishing to be assessed against this Qualification may apply to be assessed by any assessment agency, assessor or provider institution that is accredited by the relevant ETQA. 

  • CRITERIA FOR THE REGISTRATION OF ASSESSORS 
    Registration as an assessor requires:
  • Registration as an assessor by the relevant ETQA.
  • National Certificate: Rail Construction and Maintenance NQF Level 4 or a higher appropriate qualification.
  • Practical experience of not less than one year in Rail Construction and Maintenance 

  • REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    NOTES 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARDS: 
      ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
    Core  119980  Maintain clearances, safety devices and markers to ensure a safe rail environment  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  14623  Afford on-track protection  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119984  Build a standard rail turnout  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119978  Construct a railway line  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  119981  Destress rails  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  119982  Maintain rail turnouts and turnout components  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Core  119977  Maintain rails  Level 3  NQF Level 03  21 
    Core  119973  Measure track geometry in order to determine track condition  Level 3  NQF Level 03  15 
    Core  119979  Restore track alignment  Level 3  NQF Level 03  15 
    Fundamental  8968  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8969  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8973  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  8970  Write texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  376621  Build auto-electrical circuits  Level 2  NQF Level 02  16 
    Elective  264996  Construct and test basic electronic circuits  Level 2  NQF Level 02  16 
    Elective  243067  Cut materials using the oxy-fuel gas cutting process (manual cutting)  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120438  Cut rails of various profiles and grades  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120025  Demonstrate an understanding of materials and components used in rail construction and maintenance  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120028  Demonstrate an understanding of the "permanent way" context and related operations  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  244690  Demonstrate basic knowledge of hydraulic components  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  244691  Demonstrate basic knowledge of pneumatic components  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  259639  Explain basic health and safety principles in and around the workplace  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120445  Grind rails of various profiles and grades  Level 2  NQF Level 02  13 
    Elective  119975  Install and maintain trackside rail lubricators  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120024  Maintain associated works  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120032  Maintain ballast  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120034  Maintain sleepers  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  253975  Operate a heavy on-track maintenance machine  Level 2  NQF Level 02  17 
    Elective  120449  Operate hydraulic rail shearing machine  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120454  Operate petrol- air pre heating machine  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120455  Operate rail disc-cutting machine  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120446  Operate rail grinding machine  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  12208  Perform lubrication on production machinery  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  13221  Perform routine maintenance  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120440  Repair battered rail ends  Level 2  NQF Level 02  18 
    Elective  119744  Select, use and care for engineering hand tools  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  12219  Select, use and care for engineering power tools  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  120035  Select, use and maintain perway tools and equipment  Level 2  NQF Level 02  18 
    Elective  258967  Understand fundamentals of electricity  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  243063  Weld carbon steel work-pieces using the shielded metal arc welding process in the down-hand position.  Level 2  NQF Level 02  15 
    Elective  120453  Weld wheel spin burns  Level 2  NQF Level 02  15 
    Elective  119985  Build an advanced rail turnout  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  119974  Construct temporary track support  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  246667  Demonstrate an understanding of Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Legislations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  13915  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS in a workplace, and its effects on a business sub-sector, own organisation and a specific workplace  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264384  Execute train movement procedures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  123258  Foster and maintain customer relations  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Elective  120451  Join rails by means of the exothermic welding process  Level 3  NQF Level 03  40 
    Elective  13283  Maintain bearings in machines and equipment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  119531  Maintain production records for plant and equipment on a construction site  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  119983  Operate road rail vehicles and associated hydraulic equipment  Level 3  NQF Level 03  18 
    Elective  14621  Perform crossing of trains  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  262445  Provide on-track protection  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14580  Read and interpret construction drawings and specifications  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Elective  120442  Repair rail-manufactured frogs  Level 3  NQF Level 03  23 
    Elective  253447  Take samples and measurements on rotating machinery for condition monitoring purposes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  262448  Utilise fixed and temporary trackside indicators for rail movement  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14608  Utilise pilot working of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264396  Utilise radio order system of train control  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264378  Utilise semaphore signals for rail movement on double lines  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264381  Utilise semaphore signals for rail movement on single lines  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14594  Utilise semaphore signals/indicators for rail movement on double lines  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14607  Utilise semaphore signals/indicators for rail movement on single lines  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264401  Utilise telegraph order system for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14622  Utilise telegraph order system for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14668  Utilise the radio train order system of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264394  Utilise the wooden train staff system of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14671  Utilise track warrant system of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14637  Utilise Van Schoor method of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  264399  Utilise Van Schoor method of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14634  Utilise various fixed and temporary trackside indicators for rail movement  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14670  Utilise wooden train staff system of train control for safe movement on rail  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  10953  Operate a rigid vehicle  Level 4  NQF Level 04  32 
    Elective  120439  Repair 14% cast manganese frogs  Level 4  NQF Level 04  34 
    Elective  120447  Repair points blades  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  120452  Repair rail bound frogs  Level 4  NQF Level 04  42 
    Elective  264372  Utilise colour-light signalling for rail movement  Level 4  NQF Level 04  18 
    Elective  14611  Utilise colour-light signalling for rail movement  Level 4  NQF Level 04  18 
    Elective  264418  Utilise pilot working for safe movement on rail  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Elective  264294  Utilise track warrant system of train control  Level 4  NQF Level 04 


    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. R and H Rail (Pty) Ltd 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.