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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 HOT

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 HOT

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 HOT

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
pdf.png 2014 - March - Blakeley-Smith - Forty Years of 25 kV Electrification in Australia

Andrew Blakeley-Smith BSc (Hons), MIEAust, MIRSE

Director, Andrew Blakeley-Smith & Associates

The first 25kV system planning in Australia started in 1974 for Adelaide but the first system commenced revenue service in 1979 in Brisbane. 25kV system planning and implementation is one of the most interdisciplinary exercises around and many things have changed and lessons learnt in the past 40 years.

This paper looks at the basic elements and options: power supply, signalling & communications and rollingstock for 25kV and why it so often the preferred choice. Particular emphasis is given to the interdisciplinary relationship with signalling and communications, including immunization and earthing and bonding and how this has changed over the years. Finally, the proof of the design, the short circuit test, is discussed.

Size 1.87 MB
pdf.png 2014 - March - Bennett - The Long Block Commissioning Solution

Daniel Bennett BEng (Infomechatronics) Hons. MIEAust

Siemens Rail Automation

The Long Block is a novel solution to the constraints of commissioning a signalling system when confronted with limited railway closure times. This engineering solution allows trains to operate through either a single or double track block section that is established through a temporarily decommissioned station area. This allows important off-track activities such as equipment changeovers and recoveries to take place without putting excessive delays on essential passenger and freight services.

To make the Long Block solution portable, the required signalling equipment was housed within two box trailers. At the core of these trailers is a WESTRACE MkII object controller and a Thales AzLM axle counter. A third ‘Radio Repeater’ trailer was constructed to link the Long Block trailers together via radio.

The experience of commissioning the Long Block, whilst ultimately proven successful, was beset some initial failures relating to the communications system. The lessons learnt from this experience, which are discussed within, highlight the need for signalling engineers to become more familiar with the technical aspects understanding and establishing IP networks.

Size 1.37 MB
pdf.png 2014 - March - Altehage - Generating Consistent Infrastructure Data for Interlocking Applications

Klaus Altehage MSc, MIRSE

SelectRail (Australia) Pty Ltd

Railway infrastructure data is essential for different stages of an interlocking application; not only directly for planning and operation, but also for documentation, training and simulation systems. The same infrastructure data or at least a different view on the same data is also needed for timetable planning and disposition systems. The consistency and validity of such data is crucial. However, current practice still requires configuration of infrastructure in different ways for different (sub)systems, including the need to manually verify the consistency between different recipients. This is complicated by different infrastructure representations and technologies. Inconsistencies are often detected just when the different systems actually get integrated.

The Advanced Model-Based Environment for Railways (AMBER) is a solution to this problem, which is based on a single infrastructure model and its corresponding tools, which was successfully used for the development of PLC based interlocking applications.

Size 1.37 MB
pdf.png 2014 - July - Naweed & Aitken - Drive a mile in my seat: signal design from a systems perspective

Anjum Naweed BSc MSc PhD

Central Queensland University


Aitken & Partners

Train drivers navigate conventionally designed railways using a keen awareness of their routes and by calculating likelihood predictions of future states. These processes have traditionally followed a model of signal-to-signal based running, which comprises the awareness of their static (location-based) and dynamic (aspect-related) properties.

This paper reports findings from a study that examined the socio-cultural and technical ties between the signal and the driver in the context of SPAD risk management. It provides examples of how signal aspects are being interpreted on Australasian railways, how operational pressures are altering the driver-signal dynamic, and how the meaning of the caution aspect has evolved in today’s dynamic and productivity oriented rail environment.

The paper seeks to describe the train drivers’ experience of interpreting and responding to railway signals, so that the signal engineering community may better understand the implications of introducing new variables and schemes into their signal design language.

Size 4.28 MB
pdf.png 2014 - July - Moore - Signalling Concept Plan - RIP

Trevor Moore B Eng, MBA, FIRSE, FIEAust

Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Concept Signalling Plan is often used to allow scoping and costing of a project for approval at an early phase in a project program. While it is basically a cut down version of a Signal Arrangement Plan, the compromises in producing the Concept Signalling Plan often result in significant differences in the verified final Signal Arrangement Plan. These may lead to variations in scope, rework, cost increases and project delays. The only advantage of the Signal Concept Plan is that it can be produced with only a little effort, as there is still the need to produce the final Signal Arrangement Plan.

Considering the disadvantages that can flow from an incorrect signal concept plan, the advantages are vastly overshadowed. Producing the verified Signal Arrangement Plan in lieu of the signal concept plan allows the project to proceed on a firm basis and achieve the required outcomes with the minimum of rework.

This paper examines the advantages of designing the Signal Arrangement Plan at an early phase in the project and deleting the requirement for the Concept Signalling Plan.

Size 422.99 KB
pdf.png 2014 - July - Malaviya & Sweeney - Economic Signalling Enhancement - Providing Capacity Improvement in a Mixed Traffic Environment

Akshaya Malaviya, MIRSE B.Tech. PG Dip Management

Engineering Manager, 
Australian Rail Track Corporation

David Sweeney, FIRSE Grad. Dip Eng.

Signalling Consultant, Calibre Global

Coal volumes on the Hunter Valley network are steadily increasing and have gone up by about 50% in the last six years. The volumes are expected to increase to 200+ mtpa (Million Tonnes Per Annum). Based on the coal volume forecasts, the Hunter Valley Corridor Capacity Strategy (the Strategy) identifies projects to be delivered to ensure the network capacity stays ahead of the demand.

The Strategy includes infrastructure upgrade projects involving track duplication/triplication and building of new crossing loops. The Heavy Haul Guidelines, in conjunction with the ARTC standards, form the basic framework for the Civil and Signalling designs on the projects delivered by ARTC in the Hunter Valley corridor.

Although track upgrade projects provide the desired capacity increases, recent investigations have established that signalling enhancements, in some situations, can also provide equivalent capacity increases at significantly lower costs.
Hunter Valley corridor is currently delivering the following economic signalling enhancement projects aimed at achieving capacity benefits:
    1.    Kooragang Island Arrival Roads Signalling Optimisation;
    2.    Hexham to Kooragang Re-signalling;
    3.    Coded track circuit enhancements;
    4.    Mount Thorley Signalling Enhancements; and
    5.    New crossing loops with signalling solution to achieve simultaneous entry functionality.

The coal trains originate from various mines located in the Hunter Valley region and travel up to the Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS) and Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG) ports near Newcastle. Whilst the single track section north of Muswellbrook is capacity constrained necessitating construction of new crossing loops, the Ports area is heavily congested due to convergence of entire coal traffic into that region and slow clearance of dump stations and the arrival roads leading up to these dump stations.

This paper first analyses the constraints in the Ports area leading to congestion and shows how these constraints have been overcome by using economic signalling enhancements. The paper then discusses how the crossing transit times at crossing loops can be optimised by using an economic signalling design referred to as Modified SIM entry. Lastly, the paper details the issues associated with the Coded Track Circuit designs and how they can be addressed.

Size 612.73 KB

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