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pdf.png 2016 - April - Burns - Movement Authorities - A Systems Framework

Peter Burns MBA, BAppSci (Elect), MIRSE, CPEng, MIEAust

PYB Consulting

This paper on Movement Authorities is one of a series on the various elements of the Generic Systems Framework (see figure 1). The issuing of Movement Authorities is distinguished from the setting of a route and the general pre-conditions for the issuing of a Movement Authority stated.

Movement Authorities are shown to be found in all safeworking systems and having characteristics which are common to all of them. The process for issuing a Movement Authority may be characterised as the formation of a contract between the train and the interlocking.

Looking at fixed signal systems, the signal is found to fill three distinct functions, one of which is the communicating of movement authorities.

Turning to ERTMS and CBTC systems, it is shown that their central functionality is of a nature that does not require treatment as a movement authority. Benefits can be obtained by recognising the different natures of the three distinct
functions which are replaced when ERTMS and CBTC systems requirements around those distinct functions appropriately.

Size 390.21 KB
pdf.png 2016 - April - Atchison and Bruce - Implementation of ETCS on Adelaide Metro Network HOT

Brenton Atchison PhD, BSc, RENG
Michael Bruce BSc Eng, MIRSE

Siemens Ltd. Mobility Division, Australia


This paper describes the experience of implementing the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level One on the Adelaide Metropolitan Passenger Rail Network (AMPRN). The ETCS implementation was part of the broader signalling and communications contract associated with network rail electrification program.


The project commenced in October 2012 and an independently assessed safety case for ETCS was completed September 2015 with first passenger service in November 2016. It is the first operational ETCS system deployed in Australia.


This paper discusses the challenges associated with ETCS trackside engineering and implementation. It describes the key choices in operating principles, contrasts trackside application for the re-signalled and overlay lines, describes rolling stock installation considerations, and system integration methodology.

Size 1.77 MB
pdf.png 2016 - April - Aitken - What they didn't tell you at University - or did they?


Aitken & Partners


Simplifying assumptions are a key to understanding many problems and can be very helpful. Thin, inextensible strings and ideal capacitors make for simple analysis but neither is available for purchase, so their practical usefulness is limited.
Sometimes, simplifying assumptions conceal an underlying problem or distort our understanding. This tutorial paper discusses some situations where assumptions may lead to undesirable outcomes and provides some gentle reminders to exercise caution and be thorough in design, implementation and testing.

Size 2.18 MB
pdf.png 2015 - October - Tipper - Signalling the Layout or Signalling the Train?

Paul Tipper BSc

P.R.Tipper Pty Ltd

The conventional practice of placing signals onto a track layout to meet operational requirements often fails to achieve the aim of the operator. This is because track layouts are developed primarily around geographical constraints and do not consider the dynamics of the operational railway. Equally, signalling which is not shaped by the behaviour it imposes on the train is likely to fail in meeting the operational requirements for the same reasons.

In developing concepts for the Sydney network Sydney Trains has turned the conventional process on its head. The new process started with an analysis of the operational needs to determine the type of train and driver behaviour required to achieve them. This behaviour was then further analysed to determine the likely signalling arrangements which would facilitate that behaviour. Finally, track layouts were devised that were compatible with the signalling arrangements. These layouts were then passed on to the track team to develop into alignments compatible with the geography.

Size 614.09 KB
pdf.png 2015 - October - Palazzi - Railway Capacity - Signalling amongst other influences

Bill Palazzi B.Eng (Elec.) MIRSE


The layout and configuration of a signalling is a key factor in defining the capacity of a railway. However, the signalling system is not the only factor influencing capacity, and in fact many of the other issues can compromise the capacity delivered by the signalling system.

Capacity on any given infrastructure is partially about what is designed, but is also about how it is operated and what external influences there are. In this way, a railway is less like a measuring tape which provides a consistent and repeatable outcome, but is more like a tool where the quality of the outcome can be poor, acceptable or outstanding depending on the skill of the craftsperson.

To assist the understanding of railway capacity, this paper has outlined a hierarchy of influences on capacity which progressively constrain what is achievable in operation. The hierarchy incudes four levels of influence, as below:

  • Tier 1 Influences - Inherent factors; baseline infrastructure configuration
  • Tier 2 Influences - Design factors; signalling theoretical capacity
  • Tier 3 Influences - Achievable capacity: what can be timetabled
  • Tier 4 Influences - Delivered capacity; day of operation impacts.

The four tiers of influence help define how the various elements that make up capacity relate to each other, including the relationship between the signalling design and other influences. The tiers also help to clarify where signalling can help, but also the areas where signalling has little or no influence.

Finally, whilst optimising train throughput might be valuable, it is not the only consideration. Attributes such as safety, availability, reliability and quality of service are also important customer expectations; these are reflected in the need to find the most appropriate capacity balance for each railway operation.

Size 1.12 MB
pdf.png 2015 - October - Moore - Signalling Principles of ARTC HOT

Trevor Moore  BEng, MBA, FIRSE, FIE Aust 

Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Australian Rail Track Corporation was established in 1998 to manage the below rail assets from the devolution of Australian National Railways. It subsequently set up leases for the interstate rail network in Victoria and New South Wales. It now covers 5 states in Australia. It manages track and access for trains from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia through Adelaide, South Australia to Melbourne, Victoria and on to Sydney, New South Wales and finishing just outside of Brisbane, Queensland. It is an accredited rail organisation and manages rail operations, signalling, track and civil infrastructure.

The signalling principles are represented in signalling standards and in the network operating rules. The Rules detail how the train drivers and the network controllers/signallers view and operate on the rail network.

The signalling principles of a railway cover design, construction, testing, maintenance and operation. All of the System Life Cycle elements incorporate principles that govern the manner in which the signalling system operates.

ARTC has inherited the rail networks, signalling infrastructure and signalling principles of the long standing railways in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. For the past ten years these inherited signalling standards have been reviewed and merged. This is an ongoing task and will continue as the railway adapts and grows and new technology is introduced.

Size 592.34 KB
pdf.png 2015 - October - McGregor and Lemon - ETCS and CBTC Considerations for Sydney HOT

Peter McGregor  BEng (Elect) Grad Dip Sys Eng FIRSE

Lead Engineer Signals and Control Systems
 Asset Standards Authority, TfNSW

Stephen Lemon MSc,Rail Systems Engineering MIRSE

Signalling & Control Systems Manager Sydney Trains, TfNSW

Which technology solution Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) or European Train Control System (ETCS) would be best for fitting to the current Sydney suburban rail network? The answer depends on a number of important considerations: the current needs, the existing state of current signalling infrastructure, risk profile of the railway, short term and long term operational requirements, long term asset plans and of course the available budgets?

This paper explores some of the key influences and implementation issues for using CBTC or ETCS on the Sydney suburban rail network. Many of the issues are not related to signalling principles or technology but involve a whole new way of running a railway. These technologies are “disruptive” to the current operating railway as the implementation involves nearly every part of the organisation: Operations, planning, drivers, guards, network controllers, rolling stock maintenances, track engineers, signalling and communications engineers and of course the railway customers who use the rail network.

Size 541.55 KB
pdf.png 2015 - October - McDonald - When Axles just dont count

Wayne McDonald BE (Elec), FIRSE

Siemens Rail Automation

Australian Railway signalling has relied on tried and proven track circuits of all technologies for train vacancy detection. Signal Engineers and maintainers assimilated the resolution of the traps and pitfalls through procedures, the school of hard knocks, and mentoring from the industry die-hards. The corporate experience and knowledge has resulted in continued issues being addressed or accepted to the extent that they are invisible..

Enter axle counters. They are not, as some have suggested, the panacea for all train detection ills. While they are immune to ballast conductance, the vagaries of wheel-rail impedance and while they eliminate bonding restrictions they also introduce a whole new set of problems for the uninitiated (gotchas) that require new understanding, new techniques and the application of investigatory skills to resolve.

This paper broad brushes the issues and utilises two case studies, on two different axle counters, to introduce causes of under and over counts and demonstrate a scientific approach to addressing the problems when axles just don’t count properly.

Size 776.22 KB
pdf.png 2015 - October - Marillet et al - Headway improvement through ETCS Level 2, ATO and track sectioning optimisation

Pierre-Henri Marillet

Scott Lister Pty Ltd.


Francois Pignard

Scott Lister Pty Ltd.


Luke Lee MRailSig BE AMIRSE MIEAust

Scott Lister Pty Ltd.

The trend across the world is for introduction of in-cab signalling to save on infrastructure costs, increase safety and improve performance of railway systems. This is happening today in all suburban networks within major Australian cities.

This paper discusses the potential performance that an automated (GoA2) in-cab signalling system based on ETCS Level 2 with AoE and optimised track sectioning may achieve in a dense suburban network.

To do so, the paper firstly explains the differences between operational and theoretical headways which have been used throughout the paper, followed by principles of the headway calculations for lineside and in-cab signalling systems and the key concepts of ETCS and ATO having direct impact on the theoretical headway. An optimisation methodology for track sectioning is then introduced along with the result of a case study to test its effectiveness on a typically dense suburban network trying to achieve a theoretical headway of 120s.

The results of the study have demonstrated that a significant improvement in the theoretical headway can be made with a major reduction in the asset quantities that is beyond the limit of the conventional signalling system can achieve.
This means that for the dense suburban network studied, a reliable operation beyond 22 trains per hour can be achieved with ETCS Level 2 only, while 24 reliable trains per hour can be achieved when adding the ATO over ERTMS functionalities.

Size 906.38 KB
pdf.png 2015 - October - Hartwell - A Review of the Thameslink Programme

Georgina Hartwell MEng (Hons) AMIRSE MIET

Network Rail Consulting

The aim of this paper is to provide a project description and update to Network Rail’s Thameslink Programme in London. It discusses the history behind the programme and key design considerations. The paper then goes on to look at the reasons behind the decision to implement ATO over ETCS Level 2, before explaining some of the supporting projects and work-streams. In order to successfully commission ATO, a migration strategy and comprehensive set of system proving is required; testing activities are discussed in the paper. Finally, examples of best practice and lessons learned are given, before highlighting key considerations to be made by other high capacity infrastructure projects.

Size 778.94 KB
pdf.png 2015 - Oct - Tipper and Staunton - Signalling the Layout or Signalling the Train

Size 637.92 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Simmons - Regional Rail Link TCS - The view of an operator

Martin Simmons

Simmons Rail Consultants

The Regional Rail Link (RRL) Project required the introduction of a new V/Line Train Control System (TCS) to control the signalling in both existing areas and the new greenfields areas.
While V/Line had a number of initial requirements, opportunities developed during the project for the enhancement of existing train operations and rail safety utilising the technology of the TCS. These opportunities were explored in conjunction with all parties and with the positive consultation and interaction between signalling professionals, specialist advisors such as Human Factors and Rail Safety experts, Operations management and the Train Controllers and Signallers.

The result was a train control system that was commissioned by a focussed and co-operative team that has been fully accepted by the end users.

This paper describes the journey from the point of view of the end user Train Controllers and Signallers.

Size 203.79 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Ramsdale - Transforming V/Line's Regional Rail Network

David Ramsdale B.Bus, CPA, MBA

Senior Associate - Advisian

This paper articulates how Regional Rail Link (RRL) significantly transforms V/Line’s Regional Rail Network. Regional Rail Link provides dedicated regional tracks from West Werribee Junction to Deer Park, then along the existing corridor from Sunshine to Southern Cross Station. The project has delivered approximately 90km of new tracks for Melbourne’s regional rail network providing Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong services with their own dedicated Up and Down track pair to Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station.

The project provides two new stations, being Wyndham Vale and Tarneit, removal of two level crossings at Anderson Road in Sunshine and 13 road and rail grade separations on the greenfield corridor section between West Werribee and Deer Park Junction. The project also delivered upgrades to stations including Footscray and Sunshine, a new stabling facility in Melbourne for V/Line trains, and other associated infrastructure.

Size 743.21 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Moore - Standards and the Signal Engineer

Trevor Moore B Eng, MBA, FIRSE, FIEAust

Australian Rail Track Corporation

Signal Engineers are great users and drafters of signalling standards. This often means that each organisation has their own standard for a subject and national standards are ignored. This paper gives an insight into the process for developing Australian railway signalling standards by the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board. It also provides an overview of standards developed and under development. The drafting and adoption of national railway signalling standards will assist the development of signalling practices in Australia and the portability of the signalling workforce.

Size 129.56 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Heibel - CBTC for Mixed Traffic

Frank Heibel PhD MSc (Hon) MIEAust CPEng FIRSE

Doc Frank Training and Consulting

The mixed operation of different railways with diverging operational characteristics has always been a challenge for the signalling industry. Conventional signalling, with optical lineside signals and fixed block sections defined by track circuits or axle counters, allows for basic levels of signalling interoperability. But things get more complicated when introducing additional safety systems such as Automatic Train Protection (ATP), or wider performance enhancements via Automatic Train Control (ATC), as fitted and unfitted trains will require very different operational handling.

The next level of complexity will be added as metropolitan railways develop into high capacity metro-style operations, utilising in-cab signalling without lineside signals and sometimes even without the need for trackside train detection. The most popular technology example for such high performance signalling is Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) with moving block principles. The operational gap between high performance metro railways and conventional regional rail services into city centres becomes increasingly bigger and calls for enhancements to the regional services to avoid that performance gains from in-cab signalling are undone by mixed traffic requirements on the same rail corridor.

This paper will investigate options for bridging the gap between metro and regional rail services to improve safety and performance for both transport modes, using Melbourne’s Cranbourne-Pakenham Rail Corridor as case study.

Size 387.29 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - George - 2.2 kV Three Phase Signalling Power Network for Regional Rail

Stephen George Dip Eng, FIEAust, CPEng


The signalling power distribution network for the Victorian Regional Rail Link project is provided in two distinct ways, from the metropolitan rail systems secure 2.2kV single phase system and from a new VLine 2.2kV three phase system.

This paper will discuss the design, equipment and operation of the VLine 2.2kV three phase system.
The VLine 2.2kV three phase distribution system is designed as two end fed radial feeders with a common centre point and multiple ring main unit HV/LV Locations. The three substations, referred to as Power Equipment Huts or PEH, and each of the ring main units are remotely controlled and indicated over the Metro Trains SCADA network through to the electrical control centre [ELECTROL]. Circuit protection is principally centred on the substations with cable fault detection and transformer protection in each of the HV/LV Locations.

Size 1.27 MB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Yum amd Mahmood - Practical application of semiformal RAM methodology

Kai Yum BEng, BSc, GradDipSig&Comms


Tariq Mahmood  BSc (Hons), MEng 


This paper provides a review of the Reliability, Availability and Maintainability Engineering program carried out by the
Rail Systems Alliance on the Regional Rail Link Project. It provides an overview of the approach adopted by the Alliance
with close partnership with the ARO (V/Line). It presents two practical examples of the application of a semi-formal
approach. The paper also discusses the integration of RAM outputs into V/Line’s Asset Management Systems. The paper analyses some practical experiences and lessons learnt.

Size 245.45 KB
pdf.png 2015 - March - Baird - Victorian Signalling Principles

Robert Baird BE (Elec) Hons, CEng, FIRSE, MIET

Rail Networks Consulting

This paper provides an overview of the signalling systems and principles that are used on the Victorian network. While originally being one rail network where the majority of these principles come from, Victoria now has 3 separate main networks: Metropolitan (run by Metro Trains Melbourne), Regional and Country (run by V/Line) and Interstate & Standard Gauge (ARTC).

Each of these networks is currently modifying existing and developing new principles to suit their business; so at best this paper represents a snapshot in time.This paper is meant to be informative only, describing the signalling systems used to implement the safeworking systems in the Victorian Rulebook, the signalling configurations and aspects shown to drivers, the interlocking arrangements and an overview of some systems and technology used in the State.

For detailed information the reader should refer to more detailed standards and documentation published by the Network Managers, a number of which are referenced in this paper.

Size 181.68 KB
pdf.png 2014 - March - Mariapon - Safe and Reliable Signalling Power Supplies

Johnson Mariapon MIEAust, CPEng, RPEQ, Assoc.MIRSE


As contemporary railway signalling adopts more and more sophisticated electronics, incorporating communication subsystems like network switches, modems and diagnostics for overall train control, the need for high performance power supplies to feed these items is a paramount. The sensitive Signalling & Telecommunications (S&T) devices cannot even tolerate a momentary break in the power supply because these breaks affect its normal functioning and can reduce its designated life expectancy. This tutorial paper discusses techniques for designing a reliable power supply for signalling and communication systems using modern power equipment. Details on current electrical safety practices specific to S&T are also provided. In most signalling training, subjects discuss the signalling design and general power supply concept but do not focus largely on the unearthed power supply systems adopted for railways (Floating Supply) and requirements for feeding the signalling equipment in a traction electricity environment. This paper addresses this gap by exploring, explaining and outlining the floating signalling power supplies and the associated usage of Earth Leakage Detectors (ELD) in signalling power supplies in detail. This paper also emphasizes the application of AS/NZS 3000:2007 standards in signalling power design.

Size 1.37 MB
pdf.png 2014 - March - Heibel - Passenger Benefits from Automatic Train Control

Dr Frank Heibel

Doc Frank Pty Ltd

Travelling by train in a major Australian city has become an increasingly challenging experience. The drastically risen patronage over the last decade brought a number of inconveniences that affect passenger comfort: Crowded platforms, difficulty to board an already packed train, no vacant seating, huddling with fellow passengers, and delayed journeys with trains stacking up behind each other are unfortunately regular effects of peak hour traffic.

Transforming passenger transport towards higher capacity by building additional railway lines in CBD areas, as planned in Brisbane with Cross River Rail and Brisbane subway, turns into mega projects with very long lead times and pending uncertainties for funding – certainly not a quick fix. To some extent the same applies to platform lengthening for accommodating longer trains.

The transport plans for Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth envisage the modernisation of existing signalling as a key measure for increasing capacity of the existing rail infrastructure, to allow running more trains and prevent debilitating congestion when passenger numbers continue to grow further.
This paper aims to point out a few benefits of modern Automatic Train Control (ATC) that may help transforming passenger transport, just as ATC transforms the signalling system legacy in Australia.

Size 342.34 KB

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