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pdf.png 2013 - July - Hunter - Keeping the Cost of Projects Low - Benefits from Using Systems Engineering

Hugh Hunter MSc MBCS MIRSE Senior Consultant

Frazer-Nash Consultancy

We often read press statements slating a range of engineering projects for wasting taxpayer money. These are normally the results of failed or problematic projects which are cancelled, or projects which are having major issues and are suffering from features such as schedule overruns, project budget overruns or late variations to the scope.

These problems are often caused by:

• Ambiguity in the initial scope and requirements; and/or
• Requirements analysis not being performed at the project initiation phase; and/or
• The system requirements not having been agreed and signed off before the work begins; and/or
• Risk analysis having not been fully addressed; and/or
• Verification and validation of the system not being complete.

Systems engineering provides processes that are used to address these project problems.

A systems engineering approach is not often fully embraced in many rail projects. This is in stark contrast to most other engineering domains, which have now been through the discussion of the benefits of systems engineering and have embraced it, enjoying the benefits that it brings to their projects

This paper introduces the topic of systems engineering, addresses its benefits and shows that a systems engineering approach to projects can be used to reduce system development costs.

Size 1.62 MB
pdf.png 2013 - July - Finders - Flinders - A Point of Principle

Richard Flinders MIRSE Product Line Manager

Siemens Rail Automation

Some time ago the Australasian Committee decided that at least one paper a year would be presented to the Technical Meetings which covered basic principles. They were to be presentations that took a basic signalling/telecommunication subject and went through the principles of use and operation. They were to be aimed at younger members and those who had recently joined the profession. However it is to be hoped that maybe they also passed on some new information to older members as well. This paper is part of that series and looks at point operation (also known as switches, layouts and turnouts) and discusses some of the methods of moving points both mechanically and electrically. It also describes the various means of detecting that the points have moved to the required position and that they have been prevented from moving as a train passes over them. By necessity, some Civil Engineer's terms will have to be used in this paper!

Size 3.06 MB
pdf.png 2013 - July - Atchison - Upgrading the TasRail Train Control System

Brenton Atchison BSc (Hons), PhD

Siemens Rail Automation

Dirk Klokman BE, MBA

Siemens Rail Automation

David Baker DipPM

This paper describes a current project to upgrade the TasRail Train Control system. Commencing in October 2012, the project is part of a larger infrastructure renewal program for the TasRail network.

The current TasRail Train Control operations are based on Track Warrant Control using verbal radio communications to grant authorities to trains and track vehicles. The upgraded Train Control System is based on North American Positive Train Control (PTC), and combines a graphical Train Control Centre with electronic communication to onboard computers equipped with display and GPS location. The solution allows for communication and monitoring of electronic track warrants and provides an example of applying current technology to support improved safety and capacity for a Train Control system in a cost-effective fashion.

Size 860.21 KB
pdf.png 2013 - July - Hjort - Reducing Train Control Costs - The NSW Country Regional Network Experience

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

4Tel Pty Ltd

Operation and maintenance of the Country Regional Network (CRN) was transferred to John Holland on 15 January 2012, with train control functions shifting to a newly created CRN control centre at Mayfield.

The centre was fitted out specifically for train operations with all supporting train control technology. 4Tel was contracted to deliver all train control technology, including: train control systems (train order and Rail Vehicle Detection), telemetry systems, voice and train communication systems, supporting systems for operations and maintenance, and data networks for all system and operational connectivity. All design, procurement, installation, configuration, testing and commissioning was done within a 12 month mobilisation period to enable operations to commence on 15 January 2012.

4Tel provides ongoing support for the CRN control centre systems including the provision of a 24/7 technical support desk working directly with the network control staff. All systems have been configured with system health monitoring and logging, in addition to alarm management provided via 4Site.

After 18 months of operation, the benefit of 24/7 onsite maintenance and supporting structure is now being realised. System availability exceeds all targets and industry benchmarks. With callout reductions and improved health monitoring, the costs for support of train control and signalling infrastructure is now being reduced.

Size 569.64 KB
pdf.png 2012- March - Russell & Cilia - The South Morang Rail Extension Project Journey

Jeff Russell

Signalling and Power Installation Manager John Holland Rail

John Cilia

Project Manager CPPM MAIPM AMIRSE UGL Limited

In the past two years, Melbourne has experienced an unprecedented growth in public transport patronage of almost 27%. A rapidly expanding population, increased CBD-based employment and rising petrol costs mean that more people than ever are using Melbourne’s trains.

The Epping and Hurstbridge lines together carry around 60,000 of Melbourne’s rail passengers each day, with significant growth expected to continue.

The South Morang Rail Extension Project will increase network capacity, improve system reliability and introduce extra services to meet the rapidly growing demand for public transport in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

The South Morang Rail Extension Project is the first major rail extension to the metropolitan network since the city loop circa 1980. Built on the old rail reserve that runs through to Whittlesea, this multi-discipline project provides the residents of Thomastown, Epping, South Morang and surrounding suburbs with improved and accessible public transport amenities and ultimately safer and more reliable train travel opportunities.

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the project in general, and to provide a more detailed account of the signalling technology adopted and the delivery method implemented.

Size 2.19 MB
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

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