Introduction of Electronic Train Order on the CRN

Improvements to the Train Management and Control System (TMCS) and National Train Communication System (ICE) commissioned June 2015 provide Electronic Train Orders on the NSW Country Rail Network.

1,450 kms of Token Working was replaced with Train Order Working during 2012 to provide a platform for ongoing safety and performance improvements across the 2,246 km non signalled network we manage from our Mayfield Control Centre.

Capitalising on the new platform from 2013 onwards, our safety and performance program had delivered:

  1. improved train location accuracy through automated GPS feeds into the Train Order Working system to replace Network Control Officer manual km data entry

  2. Train Order Working implementation at dark territory (Yard Working) junction locations

  3. Alarm override controls that help Network Control Officers manage train safety and provide On Call Operations Managers with visibilty of trains from their phones or tablets

  4. Network Access Planning processes that provide better passenger and freight train performance through less interruptions due to unplanned work on track

  5. GPS display of hi-rails, track machines and new Protection Officer beacons within the train control systems to improve visibility of infrastructure workers

  6. integration of additional Work on Track Network Rules into train control systems to provide system controls that improve work on track safety for infrastructure workers

  7. Ten Train Order Block Locations that increase train capacity, reduce headways and improve access to the Train Order network for infrastructure works

  8. new Train Control Systems hardware in preparation for Electronic Train Orders.

Our June 2015 Electronic Train Order enhancement has improved train capacity and helped remove potential for human error associated with safety critical communications.  It also provides Drivers with immediate in-cab alarms such as ‘out of authority’ that previously had to be verbally relayed to Drivers by Network Control Officers.

The electronic transfer of Train Orders leverages off the ICE train radio. No new infrastructure is required within locomotives and no costs or changes are imposed on Operators to upgrade their existing ICE equipment.  The required functionality automatically uploads to each ICE unit when logged on for use.

A key feature of Electronic Train Orders is ease of use.  Interfaces for both Network Control Officers and Drivers were simplified through industry consultation and only minor changes to the Train Order Network Rule made to cater for the new method of Train Order transfer.  The safety system integrity within the established rule, its operating concepts and procedural steps are retained for simplicity and to minimise training overheads for Operators.

Similar to the replacement of 1,450 kms of Token Working with Train Order Working in 2012, introduction of Electronic Train Orders creates another significant platform for further operations safety improvements such as Train Order Working at dark territory terminal locations, GPS based authority release and exceed authority enforcement.

We are thankful for wide ranging industry support and to our subcontractors 4Tel (Train Control Systems),  Base2 (ICE Train Radio) and the Lachlan Valley Railway Society (Test trains & crews) who helped bring Electronic Train Orders to fruition.