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2009 - April - Kessner - Locomotive Communication Systems Installations Project and Operational Challenges 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.


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