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pdf.png 2006 - March - Robinson - Common Law Safety Cases

Richard M Robinson, BE BA FIEAust MSFPE

Director, R2A Pty Ltd

statutory, regulatory and common law obligations have been met. It is primarily a demonstration that all sensible practicable precautions are in place.

This means that target risk levels are not strictly relevant. Legally at least, if a business or activity is prohibitively 'dangerous' then it must be stopped. Otherwise the common law principle, the balance of the significance of the risk versus the effort required to reduce it, applies. As such, 'risk' is only invoked to test the value of the possible precautions, rather than the significance of the 'hazard'

Size 392.29 KB
pdf.png 2006 - March - Jordan - A Trial of a Low Cost Level Crossing Warning Device

Phillip Jordan BE (Civil), M Eng Sc. – Principal

Consultant, Road Safety International; formerly Principal Road Safety Engineer, VicRoads.

The use of red flashing lights (signals) and boom barriers at rail crossings has been a widely accepted practice in Australia since the 1920's. These devices have an excellent safety record, but are expensive to install.

The State of Victoria now has an annual budget of $6 million for upgrading level crossings from passive to active control. In the 1990's this figure was a low as $600,000. That figure allowed just 4 or 5 crossings to be upgraded from passive to active each year. The present budget results in some 15 road crossings and a handful of pedestrian crossings being upgraded annually. But even now, with some 1500 passive level crossings in the State, it will take the best part of another century to provide active level crossing protection at all sites. Of course, many of these 1500 sites are very low volume crossings, and the use of large amounts of public money at such crossings may well be difficult to justify.

This situation caused a group of road and rail engineers to investigate the possibilities of reducing the cost of level crossing protection through the use of lower cost (but still 100% reliable) detection devices and warning signals. Their intention was not to replace the existing active device with a new low cost option, but rather to have an additional device which could be used to improve the conspicuity of selected passive crossings at the time that a train was in the vicinity.

After an international literature search, five detection units were submitted to a Stage 1 trial on a disused rail line in suburban Melbourne. The most reliable detector out of these five was then further tested during Stage 2 of the trial on a railway line near Ballarat in western Victoria. Finally, as Stage 3 of this trial, the prototype was installed at a passive level crossing at Creswick in western Victoria and monitored in real life situations.

This paper presents the history of this trial, together with some of the results of the trial, through the eyes of a road safety engineer. It outlines the key decisions which were made during the nine year long study and provides some guidance and advice for others who may be thinking of a similar trial. The paper details the decisions which lead to the design of the warning signal used to alert motor vehicle drivers of the presence of a train.

The outcome of the trial to date is very encouraging - VicRoads and Vic Track are now just months away from having a low cost level crossing warning device available for use on low volume roads in rural areas. Its final cost will be in the order of one fifth of the cost of conventional active control.

Size 59.32 KB
pdf.png 2006 - March - Barker - Using Independent Railway Safety Investigations to Help Manage Risk

Phillip Barker, MIRO, Dip TSI.

Senior Transport Safety Investigator Australian Transport Safety Bureau


A greater understanding of safety related occurrences can assist railway operators and railway managers to prioritise resources to manage risk. Before you can manage a hazard it helps to understand how accidents and incidents are occurring. Implementation of corrective action, policy development and planning comes from a process of risk assessment. Given that occurrences pose a safety and financial risk to railway operators and managers, a program of analysis to look at the range of contributing factors, should form part of any safety management system. This should lead to greater safety and potential gains in efficiency. This paper will briefly outline the general process adopted by the ATSB to analyse occurrences. The status of the National Rail Occurrence Database will also be outlined.

Size 427.49 KB
pdf.png 2006 - July - Blakeley - Smith - Appreciation and Testing Communications Circuits ( For Signalling Engineers )

Andrew Blakeley-Smith BSc (Hons) MIEAust MIRSE

Andrew Blakeley-Smith & Associates

Railway signalling technology has evolved over the years from the primary discipline of the mechanical engineer to the electrical engineer to the IT/computer science engineer. The design philosophy and hardware underlying analogue communications links is very familiar to those with, or exposed to, a telephony background but does not seem to have been adequately covered in most electrical engineering courses.

There are still many analogue links forming essential, and even vital, components of signalling systems. Some of these links, in service for many years, from the author's experience, have never been tested and commissioned properly and fail when relatively minor configuration changes are made. System testing is often prolonged because new communications bearers are not tested systematically. Effort is then mistakenly put into reconfiguration of the equipment at the ends of the bearer, perhaps because the digital interface is better understood.

This paper covers some telephony history and basic principles, some elementary transmission line theory that may have been forgotten (or passed over as no longer relevant or a black art) and discusses, from experience, some practical testing strategies that do not need a truck full of expensive and difficult to drive test equipment.

Size 484.23 KB
pdf.png 2006 - July - Allison - Brakes and Signalling

Warwick Allison Chief Engineer Signals


One of the main elements of signalling is to ensure sufficient warning is given to drivers of where they need to stop, or reduce speed such as for a turnout. Clearly there needs to be a suitable braking distance between this warning and the stop signal or speed restriction.

The Central Queensland University post graduate course in Railway Signalling provides new signal engineers with a comprehensive, accelerated way to skill up in this specialised discipline.

This paper is presented around the course elements for train braking and signalling CPD 3, Signalling the layout Week 1, Topic 2 and 3, and Week 2 Topic 1 and expands on some of the practicalities and issues presented by train braking and its effect on signalling design and system capacity.


Size 385.86 KB
pdf.png 2006 - July - 7 Everist - Telemetry System Upgrade NSW North Coast CTC

Size 2.52 MB
pdf.png 2006 - July - 5 Warhurst Keys - Epping Chatswood Rail Link Radio System

Size 81.27 KB
pdf.png 2006 - July - 2 Caldwell - Generation of Optimised Automatic Signal

Size 123.47 KB
pdf.png 2006 - July - Sundareswaran - VPI Application with Radio Links

Kaniyur Sundareswaran B.S. {Engg.Tech.}, M.S. {Soft. Sys.}, C.Eng., MIET, MIRSE

United Group Infrastructure

United Group Infrastructure have commissioned an ALSTOM Vital Processor Interlocking (VPI) system using radio links for transmission of vital signalling information, between two VPIs, each installed at either end of the Kinalung crossing loop, on the Parkes to Broken Hill line.

This project is part of a contract with Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for extending the crossing loops at Kinalung and Matakana, each crossing loop being extended to 1850 metres in length.

This paper describes the VPI architecture employed in Kinalung and its interfaces to the radio link. It explains the basic components of a VPI system and its configuration for the Kinalung crossing loop.

The paper also covers the type of radio system used for this communication, its configuration parameters and explores how a non-vital radio system could be used to communicate safely.

Size 3.1 MB
pdf.png 2006 - July - Josh - NSW Train Control Consolidation


Australian Rail Track Corporation

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has embarked on a significant programme of train control consolidation and signal box closures throughout New South Wales. Ultimately two Network Control Centres will control rail traffic over the majority of the New South Wales rail network.

Train control consolidation is underway during a time of significant organisational and cultural change as the New South Wales rail system evolves from a government entity to business and customer focussed corporation which can be considered both an advantage and a major hurdle simultaneously.

The Train Control Consolidation Project is comprised of a number of minor and major resignalling works to replace mechanical and hybrid interlockings and signalling systems to allow for their remote control from PC based train control systems. Additionally ARTC has a number of complimentary projects within its' various corridor strategies which also need to be considered.

Size 687.59 KB
pdf.png 2005 - October - Braban and Yelloz - Resignalling and Interoperability

Dr Corinne Braban, IRSE Associate Member and Dr Gérard Yelloz, FIRSE

Siemens Transportation Systems, France


In the past few years, on a worldwide basis, the subject of resignalling of existing networks has emerged. The reasons are various, such as how to deal with technology obsolescence, transport capacity upgrades, and with overall service quality improvements due to modern operation practices. Simultaneously, there was the additional issue of getting suppliers to commit to long-term after-sales services and procurement in a rapidly changing technological world. This last point has made railway transport companies realise the need to push for multi vendors’ policy or for interoperable systems solution.

This paper will present the various issues surrounding the need of resignalling and interoperability. The different methods of implementation strategy (Hong Kong, Paris, New York, etc) will be presented too, as well as the actual status of their progress.

In order to cover the above issues, in the medium term, a program called UGTMS – Urban Guided Transport Management System - and followed by MODURBAN – Modular Urban Guided Rail System - was launched, thanks to the European Rail Community. Various mass transit corporations, suppliers, universities and research centres are members of this program. The objective is to define and specify standards and agreed on specifications, in particular, common architecture specification including interfaces between interchangeable equipment. The content and status of this project will be presented.

Size 191.72 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Salson & Revell - Innovative System Application and Integration Engineering for Asia - Pacific

Howard Revell BA, FIRSE

Ansaldo Signal - Union Switch & Signal Pty Ltd Australia

Part 1: Innovative Systems Applications using Microlok II

Raphael Salson MSc

Ansaldo Signal - CSEE Transport Hong Kong

Part 2: Systems Integration using modern Computerised Technology


Current trends in railway signalling system design and delivery are dictated by market forces and the flexibility of the products and services that are available to support them. Cost minimisation, increased system adaptability and functionality, technical innovation and engineering accountability all impact on the final system outcome and the customer's satisfaction. In Part 1 of this paper, the major factors that lead to innovative system application engineering and their impact on final system outcomes are presented and discussed.

Following this, the paper reviews a number of practical examples of such outcomes that have been implemented on main line railways in the Asia - Pacific region over recent times using Union Switch & Signal's Microlok II vital programmable controller. These examples represent a few of the unique circumstances cost effective and innovative system solutions have been delivered by the supplier. There are several other examples referenced in the paper that have been implemented by the customer alone. In these cases the customer has been totally responsible for the system innovation and application choosing simply to purchase product from the supplier.


Part 2 of this paper presents how modern computerized technology can be used to integrate Signalling and Telecommunications technologies into a state of the art Central Supervision System and focuses on two examples deployed in Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR)

The first System presented is the MTR Operations Control Centre (OCC), commissioned in 1999/2000 which provides all Signalling,Train Radio and CCTV functions at the Operator's fingertips in a single integrated system: the Signalling Indications & Control Panel (SICP). With 8 servers and 51 operator workstations, the SICP is entralizing the information from the different Signalling interlockings of 4 running lines, the Regulation System and the Radio and Video systems, constituting a highly sophisticated and one of the world's most complex control centres.

The second part describes the Station Management System (SMS) installed in 37 MTR stations in 2001. In the same approach, the SMS regroups Signalling, Communication (Train and Telephone), CCTV & Station Management (Escalators, lifts operation, electricity controls, Gates, Platform Screen Doors, etc...) in one centralized system, with the information displayed on 4 screens to the Station Operator. Integrated with a Decision Support System (DSS), it eases the work and increases the efficiency of station staffs. The SMS has 25 subsystem interfaces and over 12,000 I/O points per stations.

Size 1.6 MB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Moore - Signalling Code of Practice - An Australian Perspective

Trevor Moore FIRSE, FIE Aust

Endeavour Management & Engineering

The railways in Australia developed on a state basis before federation. Significant differences including gauge and engineering practices abounded in the early days and have continued unabated until the start of this century. With the development of national train operators and infrastructure owners crossing state borders, there is an opportunity for common engineering practices and standards. We has already seen the development of a National Code of Practice (NCOP) for Operations and more recently a Track & Civil NCOP has been developed and is gaining acceptance in multiple states in southern Australia.

The paper examines the issues, opportunities and threats to the development of a Signalling Code of Practice.

Size 90.48 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Lee & Tay - Tetra for Driverless Rapid Transit System

Edwin Lee Senior Systems Engineer (Communications)

Lim Hock Tay Assistant Manager (Communications)

Land Transport Authority

This paper identifies the attributes of a radio communication system that are essential for the operation of a driverless rapid transit system, and discusses how these requirements may be fulfilled using a TErrestrial Trunked RAdio (TETRA) system. The design of the TETRA system in the Singapore Circle Line, a project that is currently under construction, is also briefly introduced.

Some useful experiences that have been gained from the implementation of TETRA for the Singapore North East Line project, and how these are addressed in the CCL radio system design are also discussed.

Size 358.43 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Lam - Interoperability of ATC Systems, Hong Kong - MTR Experiences

Size 168.45 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Choo & Harris - Getting the Right Balance in Delivering an Enhanced Automatic Train Supervision Capability for the SMRT Rail Network

Choo Siew Aun Senior Manager, Signals

SMRT Trains Ltd. Singapore

Mike Harris Project Manager

Westinghouse Rail Systems Ltd. United Kingdom

Which comes first – technology or business innovation? In the technological age, is necessity still the mother of invention? The technological approach would argue that organisations should embrace as much leading edge technology as possible to capitalise on expected emergent benefits. Traditionalists would argue that one needs to identify the business need first and then carefully fit the technology to a business case based on tangible foreseen benefits. There is, in reality a spectrum of approaches between these two extremes depending on the type of business, its market and its rate of organisational change. So how does a railway organisation balance its approach on this spectrum in terms of the risks and benefits?

Recently SMRT Trains Ltd, with Westinghouse Rail Systems Ltd (WRSL) as its supplier, has completed the renewal of its Automatic Train Supervision System (ATSS) covering the North-South and East-West MRT lines. The solution to the technology introduction balance had essentially three main components. Firstly, identifying the needs of the operational railway, secondly, deciding on the optimum level of technology advancement to be introduced, and thirdly, managing the introduction closely with all the stakeholders.

Size 952.47 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Champaud - CCL - The Longest Automatic Metro Line in the World

Xavier CHAMPAUD CCL Signalling Project Manager


From an ambition to permanently improve the public transport system in Singapore to the implementation of what consists the longest automatic metro line in the world, a new interesting and challenging industrial story is being written.

Are presented in the following the different aspect of this adventure.

• The key factor taken into account to prepare the future
• The basis of the industrial arrangement with ALSTOM
• The scope of the contract allocated and its inheritance from previous contract such as North East Line
• Alstom an integrator able to delivered turnkey integrated solutions
• Track installation : the challenge
• A CBTC solution
• High tech and custom tailored train

Size 447.33 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Braban and Yelloz - Resignalling and Interoperability

Size 191.72 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Appleyard & Grady - Driverless Systems - The Challenge for the Operator and the Maintainer

MARK APPLEYARD AMIRSE, Deputy Director Signalling & Systems


SBS Transit Ltd.

The following paper sets out the experiences of SBS Transit Ltd in the operation and maintenance of two driverless guided transport systems in Singapore. This paper is not a detailed description of the technologies employed, but rather looks at the issues arising from the application of these technologies.

The paper commences by discussing the how the Government of Singapore recognises the role of public transport in the development of the nation and how the provision of high quality public transport is used a development tool. It then discusses the operational performance of the system to date, the operator's and maintainer's challenge unique to driverless systems and sets out challenges for the future as seen by the authors.

Size 153.32 KB
pdf.png 2005 - Oct - Aitken - Public Carrier Communications Technologies and Strategies for Low Traffic Lines

John Aitken BE AMIRSE

Aitken & Partners, Consulting Engineers Australia

justify a railway owned communication system so public carriers are used for both fixed and mobile communication. There is nothing new about using public carrier services in such situations – both fixed and mobile services been used for many years with substantial success. Soon the majority of Australian freight and country passenger services will use public carrier services for mobile communication.

Public carriers do not set out to provide reliable communications infrastructure for safety critical systems. They set out to optimise the profitability of their infrastructure. Can a railway rely on such a system for its operation? We review some technical and operational considerations.

Australian railways have resolved some of the technical and operational issues creatively. The most significant of these systems are described, along with the particular requirements of off-train communications.


Size 277.86 KB

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