ARTC and Lockheed Martin Trial New Train Signalling for Australia

Image Courtesy of ATRC

The Australian Rail Track Corporation, together with Lockheed Martin, have begun shadow trials of a digital signalling system for Australia’s trains.

The ARTC are responsible for managing most of Australia’s interstate freight and passenger rail network.

Australian Signalling System Trails

Australian railways are usually equipped with analogue systems, where mechanical signals on the trackside tell the drivers which section of the track they can travel on. Some of this technology is over a century old, which incases the chance of failure. This technology also makes it difficult for network operators to know exactly where a train is on the network or the speed it is travelling.

The digital signalling system that ARTC are trialling, Advanced Train Management System (ATMS), will display real-time signalling information to the driver of the train. This system will allow for greater network capacity, operational flexibility, train service availability, transit times, rail safety and system reliability.

ATMS Signalling Technology

Tim Ryan, ARTC’s executive general manager of enterprise services, said ATMS uses GPRS to gather speed and location information from trains, and then send instructions to the cabin. It potentially also allows us intervene remotely if a train is travelling too far or too fast, Ryan said.

Phase one was effectively laboratory trials of the technology benchtop testing. In phase two, we trialled the system with a Land Rover on tracks, Ryan said.

Right now were in phase three, where were running ATMS on trains in shadow mode, in parallel to existing signalling.”

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