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pdf.png 2010 - July - Sanchez - ATP Update Transponder Positioning

Luis Sanchez Bach of Electronic Eng (HON), MIEAUST

Public Transport Authority of Western Australia

The PTAWA (Public Transport Authority of Western Australia) introduced the Ansaldo L10,000 ATP system (also known as ATC1 or EBICAB) into its rail network in 1990/1991.

From the beginning, a point of contention between the PTA and its contractors has been the positioning of ATP Update Transponders. The number and placement of transponders required to minimise the "delay effects" caused by the use of discrete information points as "infill", or the need for updates at all, will be examined.

This paper will demonstrate the different methods used by the PTAWA to determine the positioning and number of ATP Update Transponders between signals.

The use of Update Transponders as "Infill" seems also to be losing favour in the signalling world due to the perceived delay effects caused by intermittent systems. A new method of determining Update Transponder positioning is proposed which demonstrates that intermittent systems can provide good performance at a reasonable cost.

Most of this document and calculations assume the use of the Ansaldo L10,000 system as installed in the PTA. Many of the concepts and ideas may be directly translated to other intermittent ATP systems such as ETCS level 1.

Size 463.84 KB
pdf.png 2010 - July - Godber - Train Detection Principles

Tony Godber CEng, BSc(Eng) MIET, MIRSE

Rio Tinto

To perform its safety critical functions, a signalling system for a rail network needs to have timely information on the position of trains and the occupancy status of track sections. This is essential to perform its primary function of preventing collisions and derailments.

The fundamental requirements of train detection systems are described, including proof of train absence for setting of points and operation of signals, proof of train presence for additional controls and updating of train position for network management and customer information purposes.

Existing technologies for track based train detection, including track circuits and axle counters, are then discussed, including many limitations on their use and application and associated safety risks. The and complications arising from the interface with other engineering disciplines, in particular the permanent way and traction power supplies are briefly explored. Consideration of train and communications based alternatives is then covered, including a discussion of whether this is the future for train detection.

Size 143.42 KB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Wardrop & Sueess - Strategies to Increase Line Capacity and Reduce Travel Time in a Mixed Passenger and Freight Corridor

Alex Wardrop B Sc (Hons) UNSW, M Eng Sc (Traffic Engineering) UNSW, FCILT

Principal Engineer, Operations, WorleyParsons

Pascal Süess M Sc ETH

Engineer, Rail Operations and Planning, WorleyParsons

Many railway lines in Australia are used by a broad spectrum of train services including long distance passenger, interurban passenger, suburban passenger, intermodal freight, general freight and bulk freight. Whereas once there was a strict train service hierarchy so that the long distance passenger train had supremacy and freight came last, nowadays all rail traffics aspire to delay-free passage. This is driven by the need for passenger rail to carry more customers and for freight rail to win business in competitive markets, all with the aim of making Australia more economically efficient and more environmentally sound.

The purpose of signalling and track layouts should be to meet a particular rail traffic task from which should flow signalling system performance specifications. Line capacity is dependent upon relative sectional travel times and signal clearance times. This paper examines the differences between freight and passenger train performance, train lengths, braking capability and how these affect signalling clearances and, ultimately, line capacity. It then discusses which infrastructure solutions can suitably address the particular issues of a mixed-use corridor and provide not only more capacity, but also reduced freight train transit times.

Optimising mixed-use rail corridors requires a view of the railway as an integrated system. Upgrading, and therefore the associated funding, should thus flexibly embrace infrastructure, rolling stock and technology.

Size 1007.58 KB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Thompson - Implemenating Metro Signalling Systems to Conventional Urban Railways

Nick Thompson Signalling Operations Manager

Invensys Rail

This paper is attempting to answer the question of how to move towards a "Metro" style of rail operation, from the traditional state wide based urban systems of today.

Australia has a rapidly increasing population and current government projections suggest that by 2050, Australia could reach 33M people #1. This equates to over a 40% increase in population from today, and further Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane accounts for 45% of the total Australian population #1. This makes our "big brown land" one of the most major urbanised population spreads in the world. If the current trend is maintained, the need to have higher density public transport systems becomes an essential requirement. So, for rail passenger transport in the major cities of Australia, it is contended that there are only two realistic options: either build new rail lines with the associated timeframes which are typically 10 years+, not including land purchases and public consultations. In NSW for example the Parramatta – Chatswood rail project, took over 11 years to open and that was only ½ of the line, #2. The recent suspension of the Sydney metro project again highlights just how difficult it is to build new railways. The alternative and far more attractive option is to "sweat" more out of the existing rail network.

This paper attempts to deal with the "sweat" option and also explains how some other international railways have solved similar issues and the related implementation challenges. In essence there is no one single solution to this problem, just good sound system engineering practices. It is also recognised that new railways will still be required to service new areas of development and solve the ultimate rail capacity problem, but in the short term there is much engineers can do: and the writer believes its time for the IRSE and the rail community to properly debate the real issues of future rail passenger capacity.

A strategy for rail capacity improvements using modern signalling techniques could prove very cost effective and allow time to properly consider new rail lines and alternative public transport systems to meet the ever increasing demand, for what in reality is a four hour per weekday problem.

Size 3.96 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Palazzi -The Big Freight Bypass : Melbourne to Brisbane via the Inland

Bill Palazzi BEng (Elec) Hons, CEng, MIRSE

Rail Section Executive, Australia-Pacific, Parsons Brinckerhoff

study to determine the economic benefits and likely success of a new multi-billion dollar standard gauge inland railway between Melbourne and Brisbane.

At present, the only north-south rail corridor in eastern Australia runs along the coastline via Sydney. A view has been held by various parties that an inland route through the Central West of NSW has the potential to slash the time it takes to move freight from Melbourne to Brisbane by rail. This would then improve the competitive position of rail transport on this corridor, resulting in a shift of freight from road to rail.

This paper has set out the work thus far on the Inland Rail Alignment Study. An overview is provided of the study to date, including the technical and financial/economic aspects, and outlines some of the key considerations and issues.

Through a robust and thorough process, the study team has analysed a significant number of different alignments,  representing over 50,000 different alternatives between Melbourne and Brisbane, to select two options that represent the most promising alignments. These two options are currently being analysed and refined to determine, in conjunction with the economic and financial analysis, the optimum alignment for the corridor.

The final report of the study team will be submitted to the Federal Government in December 2009 and is likely to be published in early 2010.

Size 3.26 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Imrie - Freight in the City - Sharing Tracks

Ian Imrie F.I.E (Aust), F.A.I.C.D

Plateway Pty Limited

This paper considers the positive and negative forces influencing shared corridor freight traffic. Possible actions are proposed that would mitigate the negative forces and make the freight service attractive to customers, urban society and importantly, both passenger and freight operators.

Size 15.57 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Hawes & Magyla - Sydney Metropolitan Freight Network



Dr Tomas Magyla PhD, MSc(Hons), BSc, MIRSE, AIPM, APM, MIET, MAET


The paper describes the proposed solutions currently in development, to provide for the separation of signalling and control functionality of the Metropolitan Freight Network from RailCorp to ARTC – to be integrated as part of the existing Network Control Centre South, at Junee. The concept of operation is being revised with the introduction of dedicated 650 m shuttle trains that will operate between the ports and various freight yards in the outer Sydney suburbs. Trains will operate in ‘push-pull’ mode with a locomotive at each end. To facilitate this, the layouts at Botany Yard, Cooks River and Mascot are being remodelled and extensively re-signalled.

The paper explores the various options and associated technologies considered for the signalling of the revised layouts. The selection of the current preferred solution is detailed, including the control system link arrangements both to the ARTC and RailCorp systems. Key to implementation of the project is agreement with RailCorp on the interfaces between the two networks and cognisance of the operational issues and requirements associated with the two networks operating concurrently along the shared corridor between Marrickville and Campsie.

Size 3.74 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Formenton - Improving Operational Performance of Freight Trains using Electronically Controlled Pneumatic (ECP) Braking

Chris Formenton Bach of Eng (Mech.), Grad Dip Comp. Eng., RPEQ

Principal Brake Engineer, Queensland Rail

For nearly 140 years the mainstay of train braking has been the automatic air brake system invented by George Westinghouse. Although notable improvements have steadily increased the reliability, safety and effectiveness of the air brake there is only so much that can be done to a system that is reliant on compressed air as both the control and energy medium.

The last 15 years has seen a slow up-take in the use of a relatively new technology for controlling the brake system on freight trains. The new technology is Electronically Controlled Pneumatic braking commonly referred to as ECP braking.

This paper intends to detail the benefits of ECP braking. The main advantages of ECP include, but are not limited to: providing shorter stopping distances; improving train service cycle times; increasing network capacity; enhancing rail safety; fuel savings; as well as reducing wear and tear on rollingstock.

ECP braking can improve both train safety and operations by: reducing in-train forces, making train handling simpler, continuously recharging the train brake system, and providing shorter stopping distances independent of train length. This is because the ECP system communicates electronically with every vehicle in the train. It not only controls the simultaneous gradual application and release of brakes but also advises the driver of the status of each and every vehicle in the train. Combined with Wired Distributed Power (WDP) further improvements can be made to enhance the supply of compressed air through a train’s brake system, reducing in-train forces and bringing about new strategies for managing trains.

Size 1.71 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Nov - Burton - How many interlockings does it take to signal a freight train?

Noel Burton BSc MIRSE

Westinghouse Rail Systems Australia

The title of this technical paper may be a little misleading but like all good attention grabbing headlines has at least some connection with the story. The content of this paper details the re-interlocking of the Hornsby station area. As the layout at Hornsby is extremely complicated as well as compact, previously four Solid State Interlockings (SSIs) were required to control the area. To need so many of the relatively large SSI interlocking in an area small enough to be bridged by a single freight train, indicates that the original resignalling project was quite a challenge. The paper includes an overview of the original SSI implementation and the engineering journey to commission the new WESTLOCK interlocking to eventually reduce that number.

Size 18.21 MB
pdf.png 2009 - Michael Magney - Northern Sydney Freight Corridor

Michael Magney

Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation

The NSFC Program of works has the potential to transform east coast freight operations whilst also offering very significant improvements in Main North Line passenger capacity. Currently, rail is a small player in the east coast interstate general (containerised) freight market with about 13% of volumes overall. If the whole land transport network is to operate effectively, rail needs to do its share of the heavy lifting in the general freight market.

There has been significant investment in the east coast interstate network over the last 5 years and resolving Main North Line freight capacity restrictions (Strathfield – Broadmeadow) will complete the missing link, benefitting the whole network. Our forecasts suggest that over the next 10 years demand for freight train movements on the Main North Line Corridor will increase by between 1.7 and three times, driven by economic growth and a shift to rail as a result of increases in fuel and labour costs. A commitment to a long term investment strategy for this corridor will provide the necessary capacity for rail to lifts its mode share to between 35 – 40%

The NSW Government obtained $15 million funding under the Australian Government's Nation Building Program for the feasibility assessment, planning and scoping of works to meet long term freight requirements on the Main North Line. TIDC was commissioned in August 2008 to undertake this work. Inthe mo st recent budget, the Australian Government has committed $840 million through the Nation Building Program towards the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor Program of works.

Size 388.84 KB
pdf.png 2009 - July - Nellai and Lusty - Radio Link for use in Computer Based Interlocking - Microlok

Somasundaram Nellai B.S (Eng Tech), MS (IM), MIET, AMIRSE

Ansaldo STS Australia Pty Ltd

Anthony Stephen Lusty BE (Electrical), GDip Railway Signalling, MIRSE

Ansaldo STS Australia Pty Ltd

The introduction of Processor Based Interlockings (PBIs) to the railway network has led to the requirement for vital serial data communication between distributed PBIs.

Traditionally, vital serial data has been carried via closed/hardwired communication systems (eg copper  or Fibre Optic), which often involve significant installation costs. The Ansaldo STS developed Microlok Vital link over Radio (MVR) provides an efficient and cost effective alternative.

The MVR is a point to point, open transmission communication system, which transports vital serial data between distributed PBI applications in low to medium density railway networks. The MVR has been specifically developed to meet the requirements of conventional vital communication, addressing all the requirements for the safe communication of vital data.

The paper outlines the system concept, the development process, challenges, independent safety validation and successful implementation of new MVR systems in rail networks.

Size 548.43 KB
pdf.png 2009 - July - Mclean - Insights into Project Delivery Innovation as applied to the MetWest Alliance Project

Stuart Mclean Bachelor Electronic Engineering, Hons (RMIT)

United Group Infrastructure Ltd

The MetWest Alliance project involved the upgrade of the signalling, track and station infrastructure at No 1 Yard, Southern Cross Station. The Alliance delivered the project on time even though the schedule was compressed, within budget and with minimal disruption to train services while working in a high risk environment at one of Melbourne busiest live rail yards.

This paper aims to provide an overview of how an alliance works, the challenges faced at MetWest and to share insights on how delivery innovations were achieved which made the project successful.

Size 1.11 MB
pdf.png 2009 - July - Gardner and Hughes - Australian Standards for the Railway Industry

Alan Gardner B.Eng (Mechanical)

Manager Infrastructure and Engineering Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board

Brett Hughes B.Eng (Electronics)

M.Eng.Sc. (Traffic & Transport) PostGradDip.Business Director Policy, Australasian Railway Association

The Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) is wholly owned by The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) its primary activity is to harmonise the Australian Rail Industry. One significant activity of RISSB is the publishing of Australian Standards for the Australian Rail Industry. This paper will examine the evolution of standards from the state based rail systems through to the present environment. The issue of interoperability for train communications systems will be used as an example of how the industry identifies an issue at the strategic level and how RISSB develops it to the end product for publication.

Size 76.52 KB
pdf.png 2009 - April - Kessner - Locomotive Communication Systems Installations Project and Operational Challenges

John Kessner OMIEAust, MBus, GradDip Manuf Man, AIMM

Pacific National

The freight rail industry is going through some significant changes in the use of radio communications systems. The ARTC  NTCS is providing the industry with a significant step forward in technology, albeit a fairly large and complex one. The  changes for locomotive fleet owners such as Pacific National have not been straightforward. Moving from a culture of fitting locomotives with multiple stand alone systems to one of introducing a fully integrated system is exciting but full of challenges.

Locomotive cab design and equipment space requirements are difficult aspects of system installations. This is made even  more complex due to the number of locomotive classes and variations in cab design.

There are many project considerations for rail operators such as business impacts, legal considerations, industrial relations, human factors, safety, new technology, engineering, installation, commissioning, training, maintenance and system retirement.

The ICE kits have fallen short in some features anticipated and required by PN and other operators. Some of these have been rectified through project variations at additional cost to the operators. Some remain unresolved or will be covered  independently by PN.

Due to the delayed delivery of the ICE kits, there has been a large effort and cost on PN's part to continue to support existing systems and fit locomotives with interim systems until ICE becomes available.

PN are also fitting equipment for use outside of the ARTC territory including the systems designed for operation in Queensland.

Size 446.08 KB
pdf.png 2009 - April - Hodson & Isles - ICE Design and Testing Acceptance

Grant Hodson BSc

Ben Isles BEng (Hons)


The In Cab Equipment (ICE) for the Australian National Train Communications System (NTCS) implements the next  generation for Locomotive Voice and Data Communications.

The ICE platform builds on design principles, hardware and protocols proven in critical Life Safety Communications. The design consists of a digital voice and data backplane with various communications integration modules plugged in to allow voice and data to be switched to different communications infrastructure. The primary suburban communications modules are 3G850 and Satellite while GSM-R is implemented for urban communications. The end result provides consistent driver communications functions regardless of the underlying technology or Train Control Centre.

The ICE hardware introduces design and test methodologies to railway electronics that have their origins in Aerospace and Military equipment. Highly Accelerated Lifetime Testing allows design weaknesses to be identified and iteratively removed. This complements real world testing which has been performed in a 44 class locomotive.

Continued involvement of access providers, operators and especially drivers in the design, testing and acceptance process has ensured that there will be a low level of operational risk and a high level of user acceptance on deployment.

Size 3.9 MB
pdf.png 2009 - April - Hall - NTCS - National Train Communication System Project Overview

John Hall

Australian Rail Track Corporation

The primary purpose of the NTCS project is to provide a cost efficient, effective and interoperable Train Control  communications network to support the current train control requirements and also future proof ARTC by providing a reliable  high speed data platform to support the data intensive train management control system being planned for the future.

The National Train Communications System is designed to replace the many disparate and old communications systems, of which ARTC is required to maintain and support for Train Control operations.

The NTCS project will provide 704 ICE (in-Cabin Equipment) units for rail operators to install into their Locomotives that will operate across ARTC and adjacent controlled rail networks on Telstra's NextG™ mobile network. Telstra will provide an additional 78 radio sites along the rail corridor comprising of 62 Macro base stations and 16 radio fitted tunnels. The Telstra NextG™ network will provide a single network for communication between Locomotives, Train Control, Track side workers and wayside equipment. This seamless coverage will be backed up by a secondary communications platform provided by the Iridium Satellite network.

The NTCS solution will provide for routine and emergency communications across ARTC and non ARTC train control territories, which ARTC has engaged Telstra as the primary contractor to design, construct and maintain the National Train Communication system.

Size 195.02 KB
pdf.png 2009 - April - De Worp, Di Lernia & Shier - Advanced Train Management System ( ATMS ) Proof of Concept Phase

Mike van de Worp, Lino Di Lernia & Craig Shier General Manager, Communications and Control Systems Division (ARTC), Program Director (ARTC) and Program Manager (LM)

Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) & Lockheed Martin (LM)

In June 2008 the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) announced an investment of A$90 million to improve capacity, safety and efficiency on the interstate rail network through the development of an 'Advanced Train Management System' (ATMS). As part of the investment the ARTC entered into a contract for A$73.2 million with Lockheed Martin (LM) for the company to design, develop, construct, integrate and test an ATMS prototype system on 105 kilometres of the interstate rail network between Crystal Brook and Port Augusta. Lockheed Martin has engaged Ansaldo-STS to assist with the delivery of the project.

The 'Proof of Concept Phase' of the ATMS program is underway and by April 2009 the project will be 10 months into the 39 month schedule.

This paper outlines the ATMS project, the broad program plan and the rationale for and description of the ATMS including a status report on the current 'Proof of Concept Phase'. The paper will also examine some of the key issues that the program is addressing.

Size 73.67 KB
pdf.png 2009 - April - Bartlett - Port River Expressway Road and Rail Bridges Project Overview and its Challenges

David Bartlett B.E, B.Ec

Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure

The Port River Expressway (PRExy) opening bridges are the centre piece of a significant upgrading of the road and rail infrastructure in the Port Adelaide area. The project was complex in scope and was at the time the largest contract entered into by the Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure. It was the first transport project which contained a significant rail element.

Both the rail component and the opening bridges were challenging. This paper describes how the contractor, Abigroup, worked closely with the Client and a diverse range of consultants, subcontractors and suppliers to ensure that the project met all the requirements of the scope of works. There were many areas where innovative engineering solutions were employed to ensure a successful outcome. The rail component was multi-faceted, with a complex scope and there was close involvement of a third party (ARTC) which had a keen interest in many of the design and construction outcomes. Several elements of the railworks were unique.

Size 628.79 KB
pdf.png 2009 - April - Baker - Rail Revitalisation : A Decade of Change for Transadelaide

Brett Baker, BE (Elec), MBA, MIRSE, GMAA, TransAdelaide

A strategic priority for rail in South Australia is to maximise the use of rail transport for passenger and freight movements. Modal shifts to rail for freight and to public transport for people in the metropolitan area offers significant benefits for greenhouse emissions, road congestion and safety.

In the 2008 State Budget, the Government of South Australia announced a range of public transport initiatives, including plans for the electrification of the TransAdelaide heavy rail network and further extension of the tram network. The announcement provides a program of works to meet the States Strategic Plan targets to facilitate a significant increase in public transport patronage by revitalising Adelaide's public transport system.

This paper reviews elements of the budget announcement that impact upon the future rollingstock, signals and communication system needs for the TransAdelaide rail network. These represent significant developments for public transport in Adelaide, presenting major opportunities for TransAdelaide..

Size 869.16 KB
pdf.png 2008 - Nov - Stelmach - Proposed Electric Traction for Auckland

Jan Stelmach MSc Elect Eng CPEng MIEAust

D’ACE Design And Consulting Engineers

The electrification of the Auckland passenger service is one of the biggest transport infrastructure projects undertaken by the government of New Zealand.

The Auckland Electrified Area (AEA) consists of approximately 175 Single Track Kilometres over five existing, yet to be built and upgraded railway lines.

This paper describes the general requirement for the railway fixed electrical infrastructure and then discusses the applied process and tools used to determine the most appropriate traction system for the Auckland electrification. It also points to the challenges encountered and solutions found during that process.

The project is in progress and therefore this paper refers to its present status as at the end of September 2008.

Size 2.85 MB

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