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pdf.png 2012 - Oct - Walsh - Audio Frequency Track Circuit Reliability Investigation

Alexander Walsh BEng(Computer)


Audio frequency track circuits are used extensively in railway signalling to detect the presence or absence of rail traffic. When track circuits fail they will indicate a section being occupied as part of their fail-safe design. This typically results in rail traffic being stopped and/or delayed.

The scope of this investigation is to gain a more thorough understanding of the design, specifications, operation and behaviour of these track circuits. An experimental approach has been used to relate theory with field measurements.

Frequency sweeps provide a new perspective to examine tuning and may prove to be an invaluable tool in diagnostics. A thermal testing program is identifying frequency drift in analogue transmitter and receiver units, The rail current meter is enhanced to allow simpler fault finding and an intermittent transmitter detector is developed.

The data and results of this investigation have identified reliability improvements that are expected to reduce the number of repeat failures and to better aid in the diagnosis of intermittent faults.

Size 1.04 MB
pdf.png 2012 - Oct - Griffiths - Software Reliability – An Oxymoron?

Alena Griffiths MIEAust, CPEng, PhD, BSc(Hons), LLB

RGB Assurance Pty Ltd

Rarely a week goes by without a major software failure featuring prominently in the news. Some problems, such as the reported "computer glitches" with Virgin Blue's check-in software in 2010, merely result in financial loss. Others, such as the Queensland Health payroll debacle, in 2011, contribute to the downfall of governments. And of course there have also been cases where software unreliability has contributed to unavailability of critical public infrastructure, and in some cases, loss of life.

But how vulnerable is the rail industry to software unreliability, and what's the real likelihood that software problems could actually stop the trains (or even crash the trains)?

This paper will provide a brief survey of the extent to which modern railways depend on correct software operation. We will show that this dependency extends from customer facing applications such as web-based journey planners and fare sales and collection systems, through to critical service delivery applications such as routing trains, scheduling essential maintenance, and responding to emergencies.

Having elaborated the dependence of modern railways on software technology, we will then proceed to discuss the vulnerabilities this presents.

We will describe the main reasons why software engineering is different from other engineering disciplines, and hence why reliability of software must be approached differently to reliability of other engineering products. The explanation will range from the science that underpins software engineering, through to the complexity inherent in modern software systems, and ultimately through to social issues such as regulation of the software engineering profession and the psychology of the software development process.

In particular, we will consider traditional approaches to reliability engineering and explain why these approaches in general translate poorly to software. Finally, we will talk about how software reliability is being approached in the Australian rail industry today, and provide some suggestions for improving our handling of, and hence reducing our vulnerability to, software reliability issues.

Size 134.61 KB
pdf.png 2012 - Oct - Gifford - Maintaining and Designing Signalling Systems for Reliability, Availability and Maintainability – Challenging the Paradigms, Beliefs and Sacred Cows

John Gifford FIRSE Signalling & Compliance Manager, Hunter Valley

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Most of you will be aware of the term Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM). It is a standardised, defensible Maintenance Requirements Analysis process. The process originated in the military and aviation industries and is now accepted by, and applied across, many engineering organisations throughout the world for the development of system preventive maintenance requirements. The RCM process is derived from the application of Failure Modes, Effects and Criticality Analysis (FMECA) and recognises that preventive maintenance can only enable assets to achieve the inherent level of reliability designed and built into the equipment or system.

Identification and selection of preventive maintenance tasks are based on:

• Reliability characteristics of the equipment;
• Operating environment of the equipment; and
• Consequences of equipment failure.

In the event no effective preventive maintenance task is identified to manage a particular failure mode then the alternatives are:

• Run the equipment to failure;
• Design out the failure mode; or
• Continually Monitor the equipment

Most modern day signalling and control system equipment have undergone Reliability Availability Maintainability and Safety (RAMS) analysis during the development phase. Usually this is a standalone process that does not look deeply into the interfaces, e.g. RAMS analysis for point drive equipment does not go deeply into the track interface, train axle loads, etc. I have observed maintainability, including occupational health and safety aspects of many the signalling systems, comprising a variety of equipment and interfaces that have not been adequately considered.

Many opportunities for improvement in asset performance have been lost, largely through blind adherence to entrenched prescriptive standards, paradigms, beliefs and homage to the sacred cows. This paper will focus heavily in this area of opportunity and challenge engineers, designers, constructors and maintainers to question these paradigms, beliefs and sacred cows for the betterment of our railway industry and "keep the trains moving".

Size 571.56 KB
pdf.png 2012 - Oct - Burns - RAMS – is that when you have more than one sheep?

Peter Burns MBA BAppSci CPEng MIEAust MIRSE

PYB Consulting Pty Ltd

RAMS analysis and the setting of RAMS requirements (often expressed as single indices) are becoming common features of rail signalling projects.

But attempts to outsource RAMS objectives by attaching them as simple deliverables in project contracts often fail. This paper explores some of the reasons why this is so.

The paper takes a qualitative look at examples and processes of requirements analysis and requirements setting, particularly at key interfaces important to RAMS. These include:

• Interfaces with the rail environment and the world at large;
• Interfaces between signalling systems;
• Maintenance Policies and strategies;

It will be seen that the achievement of RAMS outcomes inherently involves alignment between many parties. Products do not stand alone; they are part of human centred systems. Success depends on openness by organisations and access to good engineering knowledge – these being the oxygen on which RAMS depend.

Size 422.38 KB
pdf.png 2012 - Oct - Boshier - Independent Verification of Light Rail Systems - What, when, how and why

Steve Boshier, MIRSE

Hyder Consulting Pty Ltd

Independent Verification is an area that is not always well understood, perhaps misunderstood, yet if applied correctly in can produce huge benefits for both the contractor and client when implemented at the start of a project. In recent years there has been a continual growth in the area of Light Rail Systems and with this growth, the complexities of delivering these networks has also grown.

As the number of Light Rail Systems continues to expand, they not only need systems to ensure their safe operation, but they need to be planned and implemented in a safe fashion. This is where the role of the Independent Verifier comes into play and provides just as an important service to ensure that the system owner receives what they were expecting to end up with.

The Verifiers core function is to ensure that the design, construction, procurement, acceptance testing, completion along with the planning and documentation for the operations and maintenance phase are carried out in accordance with the project requirements.

Size 214.92 KB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Wilson - Level Crossing Principles

Laurie Wilson

Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board

The Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) is a small dynamic organisation based in Canberra. The RISSB works with rail industry representatives to develop national rail standards. The RISSB works towards “harmonising rail through progressive improvement not delayed perfection.” One of the current standards recently completed is AS 7658 Level Crossings. This paper outlines the RISSB standards development process, the technical aspects and principles of the level crossings. All RISSB standards are accredited nationally in conjunction with Standards Australia. The RISSB development process leads the way in its quality and rigour to ensure a suitable outcome is achieved that benefits rail organisations at all levels and areas of the industry. The technical component of the RISSB AS document is derived from the discussions and contributions of representatives from rail organisations and is deemed by these contributors to be good practise for the rail industry.

The development of the level crossing standard is a significant achievement in that it had to take into consideration and facilitate an agreed outcome across a number of interfaces. The development of the level crossing principles were created in conjunction with the development of the level crossing standard.

Size 340.63 KB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Ginkel - Track Design and Maintenance

Henry van Ginkel FIE Aust

Opus Rail Pty Ltd

Track design and track maintenance, similar to signalling design and signalling maintenance have evolved over the years and go hand in hand. The requirements and tolerances are based on engineering principles and are modified from time to time after a review/investigation of an incident of one sort or another.

Over the last 50 or so years:
• track maintenance has progressed from manual to largely mechanical; track design has moved from largely manual to computer aided;
• track has gone from mainly jointed rail to Continuously Welded Rail; and
• the introduction of Rail Grinding has allowed a better rail/wheel interface resulting in less friction,
hence less rail and wheel wear, and also less fuel consumption.

Size 1.15 MB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Georgescu - Many Railways, One System - The Future with CBTC

Mircea P Georgescu

Product Strategy Manager Thales Canada, Transportation Solutions

Signalling is a conservative industry and has a cautious approach to adoption of new technology. Traditional signalling uses fixed blocks for train separation, leading to restrictions on train movements and line capacity. Communications Based Train Control (CBTC), developed in the 80’s, introduced moving block technology, providing improvements in capacity and allowing a fully automated operation. Recent developments have provided further reductions in hardware costs, reducing energy consumption and increasing system reliability. With advancements in standardisation and demand for interoperability, driven by major operators in New York, Paris and Shanghai, the future of CBTC is now.

Size 190.21 KB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Farooque - DTRS System Integration - Integrating Melbourne's Digital Train Radio System

Saulat Farooque MEng, BEng, BSc

Test and Integration Manager, DTRS Project, Siemens Australia Ltd

The Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) project with the Department of Transport (DoT) Victoria has evolved out of the need for a more robust, reliable and flexible Rail Communication System to replace the existing and ageing Urban Train Radio System (UTRS). The UTRS is coming towards the end of its maintainable life, and the need to upgrade to DTRS has become apparent to ensure operators can run and maintain a safe train network.

Based on a standard EIRENE GSM-R platform, the DTRS project represents a complex Software Centric System comprising of many subsystem and elements. Once fully integrated and tested, the DTRS would provide an enhanced Rail Communication System that is capable of superior voice communication, data transmissions and the flexibility for future upgrades by building on the GSM-R backbone.
This paper provides an overview of the DTRS project and all the Subsystems that make up the system. The paper also examines in detail the System Engineering process and how it has been applied to this project as a method of bringing all the DTRS Subsystems together to operate as an integrated system.

Size 1.24 MB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Chadwick - The Regional Rail Link project – new tracks and systems separating regional and suburban trains in Melbourne

Marcus Chadwick BE, Dip Bus Mgt, MIRSE, MAIPM

Principal Signals and Systems Engineer Opus Rail

The Regional Rail Link (RRL) project is a rail infrastructure project providing a new rail line from the outer western suburbs of Melbourne to the city.

The project separates regional trains from metropolitan trains – for the first time giving Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat trains their own dedicated tracks through the metropolitan system from West of Werribee (Geelong trains) and from Sunshine (Ballarat and Bendigo trains) to Southern Cross station.

These new arrangements will increase train capacity and reliability for both regional and metropolitan services.

RRL is Victoria's largest rail infrastructure project since the construction of the City Loop in the 1970s and will deliver Victoria's first new rail line in over 80 years.

The project is approaching the end of its development and procurement phases and delivery is underway in some areas. This paper provides a general description of the scope of the project, the methods adopted for delivery and some of the detail arising from the development and procurement activities.

Size 362.1 KB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Beavis & Keightly - Design Philosophy for Performance on the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel

Paul Charles Beavis BA BE(Hons) PhD MIEAust

Victorian Department of Transport

Gareth Keightley BEng(Hons)

Metro Trains Melbourne

Melbourne Metro is a proposed 9km tunnel with five underground stations extending between South Kensington in the west and South Yarra in the east. It thus provides additional capacity through the inner core of the rail network, contributing to city growth and productivity. It provides new CBD rail capacity and connections for all the lines within the existing Caulfield and Northern rail groups. The introduction of a new rail corridor through the CBD offers the opportunity to introduce new approaches to operations and quality of service, including the ability to deploy technologies that enable a metro-style performance. This performance extends to the rail operations and stations operations which underpin the passenger experience, rail safety and the dependability of the system. Both the performance of the infrastructure with tunnel section and the surface lines are critical to the successful operation of the Melbourne Metro.

This paper scopes a design philosophy for the performance of the Melbourne metro system driven by the user experience. This paper presents some of the functional requirements of the Melbourne Metro concept. It outlines how the functional requirements can be translated to criteria for regulatory acceptance and commercial completion using a RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) approach.
The challenges include: delivering systems in a greenfields and brownfields environment; integration of an appropriate control and information system; rolling stock selection and transition; and infrastructure solutions. The transition to the Melbourne Metro corridor will also consider the implementation of in-cab signalling for High Capacity Signalling. Public Transport Victoria (PTV) with the Operator Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) is pursuing a development program for in-cab signalling which will demonstrate the effectiveness and requirements of the transition of the network.

Size 445.46 KB
pdf.png 2012 - March - Szacsvay and Moore - Broken Rails and the Survival of the Track Circuit

Paul Szacsvay FIRSE

Principal Engineer Signalling R & D

RailCorp NSW

Trevor Moore FIRSE

Signalling Standards Engineer

Australian Rail Track Corp

Track circuits have always been identified as a means of broken rail detection, and will continue to be needed to serve this function even when their train detection functions can be replaced by communications based location methods or non-contact train detection.

The effectiveness of track circuits in detection of broken rails has been the subject of some considerable discussion amongst signalling and track engineers. This paper looks at both sides of this discussion. We hope to provide you with an insight into what risk reduction track circuits can provide and whether this can largely be substituted by improved forms of rail husbandry.

Size 860.87 KB
pdf.png 2012 - July - Terry - ETCS for Worldwide Train Control


Independent Consultant

This paper discusses the application of the European Train Control System (ETCS) now and into the future. From its beginnings in an EU Directive in 1989, it is today one of the world's most successful cab signalling and train protection systems that can be applied to any railway in the world.

Interoperability is a major feature of ETCS. To achieve this, compliant ETCS without modification must be deployed. The advantages and the limitations of making changes are discussed.

The application of new developments of Baseline 3 and ETCS level 3 are briefly considered.

Looking to the future, the addition of Automatic Train Operation to ETCS, and the confluence (or not) of ETCS and CBTC technologies is introduced.

But overall, because ETCS includes so many options and parameters, the success of a particular installation now depends heavily on the application engineering. This is explained in some detail.

Size 454.44 KB
pdf.png 2012 - July - T Godber - Cars and Trains Dont Mix

Size 251.23 KB
pdf.png 2012 - July - P Hughes - You cant get good train control

Size 72.33 KB
pdf.png 2012 - July - Blaauboer - SIL 4 Interlocking based on COTS hardware

Michiel Blaauboer MSc Technical Manager


Nowadays, the majority of proprietary electronic interlocking systems are built with dedicated hardware. The interlocking industry is a relatively small market compared to other fields of industry; innovation is expensive, and therefore sometimes 'slow'. Besides that, after installation the manufacturer must be contracted for maintenance and especially alterations, creating a 'vendor lock'. The Movares Eurolocking system has the goal to eliminate these issues by using standard PLC's (commonly used in the process industry).

Eurolocking is a SIL 4 PLC interlocking completely based on Commercial of the Shelf (COTS) hardware components. Any (SIL 4) PLC can be used in this concept to engineer an open system. Only the logic inside the system is dedicated to the railway environment.

The (COTS) components are applied worldwide in many industries. The scale of quantity for these components is bigger than the one for dedicated interlocking hardware. As a result this has an effect on the final price and R&D is going at a faster pace. Another improvement is the decoupling of hardware and engineering. In principle the application is based on open code.

As modern PLC's support many open interfaces, modules can be created to directly interface with a wide range of other systems. However, the use of dedicated protocols is still possible.

Size 3.25 MB
pdf.png 2011 - November - Why do track ballast machines have windows by adam morris 20-7-11

Presentation only.

Size 4.11 MB
pdf.png 2011 - March - Wust and Hjort - Wheres The Train?

Derel Wust BE (Hons) MIE Aust, CPEng, GAICD

4TEL Pty Ltd

Graham Hjort BE (Hons), Grad Dip (Rail Sig)

4TEL Pty Ltd

GPS based technology is now common place in everyday life with GPS receivers standard as part of many phones and satellite navigation fast replacing maps for most motorists. GPS has been standard installation on all trains operating in NSW since the mid 1990's, with the introduction of CountryNet radio. Train GPS positions are transmitted back to the control centre as part of the basic CountryNet functionality. The Train Order Computer system in NSW has been successfully making use of these GPS positions for 10 years, to ensure the trains actual location is consistent with the Authority it holds.

One challenge has been the ability to provide train location information to remote field sites or staff where it could be of great value. Continued improvement in technology has not only made this possible, but practical as well.

Improved awareness in the position of trains when working in and around the rail corridor, or provision of greater detail into train planning and reporting functions can be achieved through the use of GPS based train location data.

Inherent limitations in the reliability of data delivery and GPS position accuracy will limit the use of GPS based train location information for safety related functions. However, the opportunity now exists for making use of train GPS data for improving the efficiency and safety of the rail network.

Size 424.61 KB
pdf.png 2011 - March - Taylor - A System for Broken Rail Detection Independent of the Signalling System

Rebecca Taylor B. Eng (Hons) Mech

Signals Engineer, Public Transport Authority of Western Australia

This paper considers the problem of detecting breaks in a rail. It provides a review of types of rail break, which types need to be detected and why their detection is necessary. It also tackles the question of where the responsibility for detecting broken rails lies.

Maintenance and management of the rail and track assets are the responsibility of the track maintenance group. Hence detection of conditions relating to the rail must therefore fall within that scope. Further to this, Signalling systems cannot be relied upon to detect all types of rail break. Signalling systems employing communications based train position detection or axle counters have no mechanisms whatsoever for detection of broken rails.

This paper proposes a possible system that may be able to provide a better solution for detection of broken rails than traditional signalling systems and can do it independently of the signalling system.

Size 233.55 KB
pdf.png 2011 - March - Shenton - Video Train Positioning

Richard Shenton MIRSE

Reliable Data Systems

Since commercial railways began around 200 years ago, passing trains have been detected from the trackside. Now we have entered the era of train based positioning. The cost of installing, operating and maintaining track circuits and other infrastructure equipment is driving the introduction of train based alternatives. Whilst GPS is widely used for train positioning on low density lines, it cannot on its own meet the exacting requirements of train control. There is a  need for a new generation of location system which can provide continuous positioning on individual lines with high  integrity and low cost.

This paper describes the operation of VTPS (Video Train Positioning System) a cab mounted vision system providing reliable positioning at low cost. The system uses image processing technology to provide the full range of positioning requirements for the operational railway, including odometry, spot location and track discrimination. The paper details the techniques that are employed and how these are used to provide accurate results with high integrity. It describes how the individual functions are combined to provide a complete positioning capability, supporting applications such as train control, platform stopping, standstill detection and train integrity.

Size 3.36 MB

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