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pdf.png 2011 - July - Sundareswaran - Sulphide Junction - Practical Issues in Rail Regeneration

Kaniyur Sundareswaran M.S., FIRSE, CEng., FIETE, MIEAust, CPEng.,

Aurecon (NovoRail Alliance)

Sulphide Junction Signalling System was successfully commissioned on 27th February 2011.

The system existing at the start of the project was a 28 year old relay interlocking system comprising of a distributed interlocking architecture performing the core interlocking functions within the Relay Room. The higher aspects and train stop controls are managed locally within the distributed locations.

Remote controlled from Broadmeadow using SCADA 2000 links, the system has an Emergency Local Control Panel installed in the Traffic Room of the Relay Room building.

As part of providing improved access to the EDI Downer workshop (Waratah Trains assembly and testing), a heart transplant of the relay interlocking to Microlok in the relay room was planned, mainly to overcome the restrictions placed by "no more than 2 day possession" rules. The external distributed interlocking was left as is, with minimal modifications to accommodate additions/changes, to keep costs down.

The aerial photograph below shows the Sulphide Junction Rail Corridor and the access to EDI Downer workshops.

Size 730.63 KB
pdf.png 2011 - July - Ross - Rail regeneration - what are the risks?

Alan Ross MSc, BSc, Grad Dip OSH, CMIOSH

Principal, A & K Ross Associates Pty Ltd (AKRA)

Rail regeneration in Australia is gaining some much-needed momentum, at long last. There are improvement schemes and upgrades all over the country, from the mining railways of WA to Regional Rail Link in Victoria, not forgetting the Adelaide Electrification Project.

Many of these projects have in common that they are undertaken in a live rail environment alongside an operating railway. It is not possible to shut down operating railways for extended (or even short) periods. It is also not uncommon for signalling systems to be shut down at certain times in projects to facilitate installation and commissioning of new equipment. The railway runs with a degraded mode of safe working, whilst trains continue to operate 'normally'. Such situations also arise in unplanned situations. Finally, the question of protecting track workers: have systems for protection kept up with other railway developments?

The risks associated with such a scenario are obvious and have resulted in a number of serious incidents. This paper will describe some of the incidents, highlight some of the lessons learned and consider ways in which the introduced risks can be eliminated or significantly mitigated. With the statutory obligation on rail operators to eliminate risks or, where that is not reasonably practicable, to reduce risk so far as is reasonably practicable, what is the role of the Regulator and are they up to the task?

Size 5.91 MB
pdf.png 2011 - July - Allan - The Application of Distributed Architectures on Vital Interlocking Systems

Dwayne Allan B Eng (Hons), PGradCert (Railway Signalling), AMIRSE, MIEAust, CPEng

Siemens Ltd.

Distributed control systems have their heritage in manufacturing, process or other forms of dynamic systems in which the control of sub-systems is distributed throughout the system but controlled by one or more programmable logic controllers (PLC's) in a central location. This philosophy is often applied in process environments with equivalent SIL requirements to railway signalling systems.

This paper will outline the use of distributed architectures in a railway signalling context, in particular the system flexibility and resultant changes in system design and requisite cost implications for railway authorities when used as vital interlocking systems. Sample system layouts using traditional and distributed architectures will be reviewed as well as the benefits and limitations of the each system application.

The advancements in PLC technology its application in safety-critical systems will be reviewed. The open data communications functionality and the streamlined programming techniques used as part of industrial automation applications will be outlined. How these advancements and techniques are used in a railway signalling interlocking application will also be discussed. In particular, the use of function blocks and function calls to create a library of signalling principles will be addressed.

An overview of the significant benefits of applying industrial automation philosophies to railway signaling projects will be provided. The impact of these benefits on the Total cost of Ownership of distributed architecture systems using industrial automation technology will also be discussed.

Size 5.03 MB
pdf.png 2011 - July - Burrows & Stringer - Folding Signal Posts - Myth or Practical Solution

Stephen Burrows CEng MICE

Adelaide Rail Leader, Aurecon

Peter Stringer FIRSE

Signalling Accreditation Manager, Aurecon

Since time immemorial, signalling systems have made use of stiff, upright, highly robust and immovable signal posts for good practical engineering reasons. They should be able to withstand environmental conditions like rain, wind and snow without excessive deflection and still remain upright to support that vital signal arm or head with the associated aspect.

Back in the good old days, signal engineers didn't even bother with the mechanical or civil engineer to help with the signal post or foundation design! More recently, the mechanical and civil engineers have got involved and we now have good foundations and strong posts that satisfy the various railways' specifications.

Times have also changed with regards to Operational Health and Safety (OH&S). Legislation hasn't always been so onerous and signalling personnel were routinely permitted to work two metres above the ground without a safety harness. It was nothing to expect a maintainer to climb a 12.5m tall lattice post to maintain or repair a piece of mechanical equipment such as pulleys or cranks or replace a light bulb which had expired.

So in today's safety conscious environment and with the widespread introduction of 25kV overhead line equipment above the track, is it really desirable to have maintenance staff working at heights and in close proximity to lethal electrified equipment? Somewhat surprisingly, the answer to this question is "yes" and the vast majority of new signals continue to be installed on conventional straight posts.

Several alternative solutions are available which allow all maintenance activities to be undertaken at ground level using folding, hinged or sliding posts. These solutions also provide significant safety benefits yet the signalling industry is slow to embrace them. Is there genuine justification for this reluctance to change or is the signalling industry simply intolerant to change?

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pdf.png 2010 - Oct - Nick Thompson - Implemenation of a metro signalling system

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pdf.png 2010 - Oct - McCarthy - Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel Project : Preferred Station Locations

Adele McCarthy Deputy Project Leader, Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel Project

Victorian Department of Transport

The Victorian Government has a plan to move Melbourne's rail system from a suburban commuter network to a modern metro system. As the benefits of short-term actions on the rail network – such as new trains, new timetables, new stabling, improved maintenance and line extensions to South Morang and Sunbury – begin to take effect, planning work has begun on the first stage of the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel project.

Size 3.09 MB
pdf.png 2010 - Oct - McCarthy - Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel Project : Preferred Station Locations

Adele McCarthy Deputy Project Leader, Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel Project

Victorian Department of Transport

The Victorian Government has a plan to move Melbourne's rail system from a suburban commuter network to a modern metro system. As the benefits of short-term actions on the rail network – such as new trains, new timetables, new stabling, improved maintenance and line extensions to South Morang and Sunbury – begin to take effect, planning work has begun on the first stage of the Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel project.

Size 3.09 MB
pdf.png 2010 - Oct - Lawrie - Next Generation Signalling Capacity

Michael Lawrie MIRSE, GradDip Signalling, Bach Elec/Elect, Bach Bus

Department of Transport Victoria

Next Generation Signalling is a generic term that is being used in Victoria to describe a new signalling system. It is used is to enable deliberation about the concepts and principles, not about the technology or the supplier systems. It has been adopted to remove any ambiguity that arises when industry specific terms are used.

Capacity is a key driver for a deployment of a Next Generation Signalling system. The existing signalling system imposes constraints on the capacity that can be delivered by the infrastructure. The Next Generation Signalling system seeks to address these constraints and enable a higher capacity railway whilst maintaining the high level of safety that the railway enjoys.

This paper describes the constraints the existing signalling system imposes on the capacity of the railway and explores how the Next Generation Signalling principles can address these constraints and enable operations at a higher capacity than that traditionally available.

Whilst the existing signalling system has served the railway well for almost a hundred years, Next Generation Signalling will offer Victoria significant benefits to capacity and bring Victorian signalling into the modern world.

Size 231.96 KB
pdf.png 2010 - Oct - Grady - Signalling Maintenance and Operations Experiences in a Fully Automated Modern Medtro System

Norm Grady Comp IRSE, FIE (Aust)

Manager, Network Planning & Development – Metro Trains Melbourne

The purpose of this paper is to recount the author's experiences in the operation and maintenance of fully automated relatively modern guided transit systems in Singapore and compare those experiences with the Melbourne system.

Size 2.06 MB
pdf.png 2010 - Oct - Barber - Metro Rail Solutions : Capability Development to Local Australian Needs

Matthew Barber Lead Systems Engineer

BE (Hons), BSci Siemens Ltd.

Increasing operational demands for higher performance and technological improvements have led to the development of increasingly complex metro rail solutions. The complexity and the challenge of implementing such solutions require significant attention to the methodologies applied to the development of these complex solutions. This is essential to ensure that the desired function and performance requirements are delivered. In Australia, railways have developed with special needs not necessarily aligned with their European counterparts. The geographic imperative of European railways has led to increased co-operation in the development of railway technologies and a resulting level of standardisation across solution deployments. This standardisation leads to cost-savings for European rail operators through reduced development and schedule risk, increased competition from suppliers and improved return on investment for railways investing in capability enhancements. Australian railway operators are able to see similar positive impacts by adopting technologies developed for their European counterparts and modifying them for the local Australian needs. Through the application of formal system engineering processes "commercial off the shelf" products can be tailored and deployed as Australian metro rail solutions. This provides the mixture of the benefits of reduced development risk, whilst aligning Australian metro rail solutions with the capability development framework employed in Europe. In turn, this positions Australian metro rail solutions for further cost effective capability enhancements into the future.

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pdf.png 2010 - March - Symons - Design Acceptance - What About the People?

Peter Symons F.I.R.S.E.

Engineering and Design Manager, Novo Rail

Most safety management activities for say, signalling and control systems concentrate on measuring conformance to processes against standards and procedures plus demonstration through risk assessments, V&V activities, arguments and evidence that the system as designed is safe and meets the requirements.

During these processes there is usually some emphasis on the human contribution e.g. Human factors as affecting operations and maintenance. However, to achieve an accepted design against a set of requirements can be problematic due to the behaviours of some of the actors, both in the transmitting and in the receiving sides of the process.

This paper will describe the approach by the Novo Rail alliance to improve the processes relating to the delegation of Engineering Authority and achieving a better Design Acceptance process to support its extensive program of works.

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pdf.png 2010 - March - Robinson - Growing a Good Safety Culture in Railway Signalling

Dr. Neil J Robinson, CEng, PhD, CITP, MBCS, BSc(Hons)

Head of Systems Assurance, Ansaldo STS.

Adjunct Professor, School of Information Technology & Electrical

Engineering, The University of Queensland.

An organisation's "Safety Culture" is generally defined as "the way we do things round here" with respect to safety. There are several human-factor driven frameworks [5,6,14], available for describing the Safety Culture concept in much more detail. Many of these frameworks define levels of Safety Culture that can be used by organisations as paths for an improvement program.

All the definitions of Safety Culture agree that a Safety Culture is more than just a safety management system. It emerges from the systems, practices and people that make up an organisation. But, if having a safety management system, even one that includes controls designed to encourage a good Safety Culture, is not enough to create a good Safety Culture, then what should an organisation do? And specifically, what should a railway signalling organisation do?

In this paper we briefly define what is meant by a Safety Culture, with reference to the literature. We review the work that has been done in the UK, Australia and elsewhere on reviewing and improving Safety Cultures in the railway industry, and comment on how that work relates to railway signalling. For example, many railway organisations in Australia have already used the UK RSSB railway Safety Culture toolkit [6] to conduct surveys and report on the maturity of their Safety Culture.

We consider how these Safety Culture models apply to engineering of safety-critical systems, and, more specifically, how they apply to railway signal engineering.

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pdf.png 2010 - March - Neist - Keynote Address IRSE AGM & Technical Meeting Brisbane

Len Neist Chief Executive ITSRR

Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to present a paper at your Annual General Meeting. One of the most significant safety risks that require constant attention and investment in improvement is the risk of a wrong side failure. Signalling and communications are the key systems that provide controls and defences to assure railway operations avoid a wrong side failure risk.


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pdf.png 2010 - March - Moving Towards Goal - Based Safety Management

Dr. Holger M Becht PhD, BInfTech(Hons)

Safety & RAM Manager; Ansaldo STS, Brisbane

In virtually all safety-critical industries the operators of systems have to demonstrate a systematic and thorough consideration of safety. This is generally done through the application of safety standards as part of the development of safety critical systems.

Many safety assurance standards (like EN50126 [1], IEC 61508 [8], DEF (Aust) 5679) [6] are very prescriptive. They require specific techniques, approaches or measures to be applied to achieve the safety objective without allowing the users to select a suite of techniques and measures best suited for their application and development environment. The application of prescriptive techniques can work well for some systems but can be a hindrance for others.

There has therefore been an increasing trend in many industries to demonstrate safety by assuring certain goals have been achieved, rather than simply following prescriptive standards.

Goal-based standards do not specify the means of achieving compliance but sets goals that allow for alternative ways of achieving compliance. Goal-based safety standards are now a reality and applied in the medical industry and defence; examples of such standards are the UK Defence Standard 00-56 [5], and the UK Railway Safety Standard The Yellow Book [11].

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pdf.png 2010 - March - McGregor - Using Six Sigma to Improve Track Circuit Reliability

Peter McGregor BEng(Elect) Grad Dip (Systems) MIRSE

Head of Signalling Design – Professional Services Division, RailCorp

Is Six Sigma just another management fad? Is it just another business opportunity for the consultancy industry? Yes, it could be if you let it. For RailCorp our six sigma journey has commenced with an initial number of projects in the Asset Management group focusing on reliability improvements which were being sought by the organisation.

In the first part of the paper I give a brief introduction to six sigma and what it is. I than go onto describe how we commenced using six sigma and how it was applied to our reliability improvement projects. In the third part of the paper I describe in more detail a project where we used some of the six sigma tools and methodology to improve the reliability of FS2500 jointless track circuits in a critical area of the RailCorp network and how using a simple clip on ferrite solved a problem with Receiver (RX) lockup.

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pdf.png 2010 - March - Long - Managing Rail Operations Risks – A Simpler, More Effective Process

Chris Long MBA, B.Eng, Grad Dip IT


Despite widespread awareness of risk management techniques, there are frequently difficulties in turning that knowledge into safer railway operations. The risk process often breaks down not at the point of assessing risk values but in actively managing risks.


We are trialling a process based on a comprehensive and reliable block of data directed at showing the safety controls related to each risk. This gives personnel the information they need to properly review the safety risks which they have some responsibility for, the effectiveness of the controls, and how to best direct time and effort. Our experience so far has been promising and we believe that this may lead to better clarity, better allocation of resources, and improved safety.

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pdf.png 2010 - March - Haskins - The Future Of Safety Systems Management: From Reactive to Proactive

Tom Haskins BSc Hons, PgDip, M.I.E.T, MSaRS, MCMI Australia

Parsons Brinckerhoff Pty Ltd

There is a challenge to be faced by railways: what is the future role of a safety management system in an industry that continues to evolve? This paper examines the paradigms for safety management which I believe should be the way forward, for the future of Safety Management Systems. In essence there needs to be a shift from reactive to proactive safety management, a change from top down to bottom up participation with the emphasis on sharing knowledge within a learning organisation/culture.

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pdf.png 2010 - June - Weerakody - Upgrading of Level crossing protection on the Public Transport Authority Network

Don Weerakody BSc(Eng) MIRSE MIE(Aust)

Public Transport Authority WA

This paper discusses two PTA projects for upgrading of level crossing protection on the non electrified sections of the PTA network.
The first project is to upgrade the protection at six road level crossings on the Armadale to Mundijong line and three road level crossings on the Fremantle to Robb Jetty line. This project is being funded by the Federal government.
The second project is to upgrade the protection at three pedestrian crossings on the Fremantle to Robb Jetty line and upgrade a road crossing on the Armadale to Mundijong line to GCP operation. This project also includes providing a new pedestrian crossing on the Armadale to Mundijong line at Deerness Road. These projects are being funded by the Public Transport Authority.

It is also envisaged that a new road crossing may be provided in close proximity to the Fremantle boat harbour with boom gates and double pedestrian gates on either side of the road crossing. This crossing has been proposed by the organisers of the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championship (which is the qualification event for the 2012 London Olympic Games sailing events) as an alternative access to road and pedestrian traffic during the championship. This event will be held in December 2011.

This paper will discuss the reasons for upgrading the protection and details of the technology used at each crossing.

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pdf.png 2010 - July - Taylor and van der Merwe - Protection of Track Maintenance Equipment Final Format

Barry Taylor and Henk van der Merwe

Rio Tinto

In the past 10 years, throughput on Rio Tinto's iron ore railways in the Pilbara has more than doubled. To address this rapid increase in traffic, the Integrated Control Signalling System (ICSS) with Automatic Train Protection (ATP) and in-cab signals that was introduced on the Hamersley Iron main line in 1998 now covers all main lines. This provides drivers with information on their route many kilometres ahead, with the confidence that their speed and authority limit will be supervised by ATP.

On most railways, movement authority information and protection afforded to rail mounted maintenance equipment falls well below this standard. This wide gap in the level of protection for different types of movements had become unacceptable. Therefore, Rio Tinto has recently upgraded its Train Control System to improve the protection for hi-rail (road/rail) vehicles and track maintenance equipment moving on the main line. While this has not yet achieved an equivalent standard of protection as for main line trains, it is a significant advance from previous practice. This paper examines the various steps involved in the development of this project, improvements that were found necessary along the way, and opportunities for further enhancements to provide a safe working environment for operators of track maintenance and inspection equipment.

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pdf.png 2010 - July - Tan - Rapid Modernisation of Urban Passenger Rollingstock

Jason Tan Bach of Eng (Elec.), Bach of Com (Management, HRM)

Electrical Engineer (Public Transport Authority)

The availability of railcars and the ability to meet the growth in public transport patrons in Western Australia over the long term has been an important topic of discussion in the past few years. While the mechanical and even the traction systems of the railcars may live to their design life, the technology of the auxiliary control and communications equipment on board will become obsolete. This paper discusses the 'RAPID' project that the Public Transport Authority of Western Australia embarked on in order to completely overhaul the communications systems on board their existing 15 year old fleet of Electric Multiple Units. It demonstrates how the project was able to quickly modernise the aging look, feel and control of the railcars with state of the art technology and functionality, allowing the railcars to be available for use to the extent of, and even beyond, their design life.

Size 310.8 KB

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