|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.