|2009 - April - Hodson & Isles - ICE Design and Testing Acceptance|
Grant Hodson BSc
Ben Isles BEng (Hons)
The In Cab Equipment (ICE) for the Australian National Train Communications System (NTCS) implements the next generation for Locomotive Voice and Data Communications.
The ICE platform builds on design principles, hardware and protocols proven in critical Life Safety Communications. The design consists of a digital voice and data backplane with various communications integration modules plugged in to allow voice and data to be switched to different communications infrastructure. The primary suburban communications modules are 3G850 and Satellite while GSM-R is implemented for urban communications. The end result provides consistent driver communications functions regardless of the underlying technology or Train Control Centre.
The ICE hardware introduces design and test methodologies to railway electronics that have their origins in Aerospace and Military equipment. Highly Accelerated Lifetime Testing allows design weaknesses to be identified and iteratively removed. This complements real world testing which has been performed in a 44 class locomotive.
Continued involvement of access providers, operators and especially drivers in the design, testing and acceptance process has ensured that there will be a low level of operational risk and a high level of user acceptance on deployment.