Passenger Rail, Signalling & Communications, Technology and IT

New technology seeks to boost safety and reliability

New electrical technology is expected to make life easier for users of the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines

“INDUSTRY- leading” electrical technology installed on Melbourne’s rail network is boosting safety and service reliability for passengers who use the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines.
The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project completed the installation of a new Essential Services Distribution System in July 2020.
At the heart of the system is 13 new Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) at substations between Caulfield and Pakenham – providing a highly-reliable electrical power supply to signalling, communication systems and other equipment to improve network performance.
The UPS acts like a back-up generator – if the main network power supply is interrupted or experiences a fault, the UPS system kicks-in and powers signals and safety equipment for up to 10 minutes.
This provides an essential window of time for high-voltage power to return to normal, and in the event of a more significant fault, an alternative power source can be activated remotely from Metro’s central electrical control room.
Metro executive director – network integration Paul O’Halloran said they were “continuously striving to find new and innovative ways to improve the reliability of our train services”.
“Since the completion of these works, there has been a significant reliability boost for services on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines – and that’s great news for passengers,” O’Halloran said.
“I want to thank all our project partners for supporting a safer, more reliable network for Melbourne.”
The UPS system also provides power to track switching mechanisms that can be monitored and controlled remotely by Metro’s team of electrical operations staff, which provides another layer of power supply reliability.
If the electrical feed to signals is interrupted, an inbuilt safety mechanism will automatically change the light to red, telling a driver to stop the train.
Transport minister Jacinta Allan said the Caulfield to Dandenong project had delivered “smoother, more reliable journeys along the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines – and this new innovative technology is making the lines disruption-free for passengers in our growing south-east”.
Signal faults are often caused by external power supply issues brought on by vehicles hitting power poles, or interruptions to the supply of high voltage power in a local area.
These types of signalling issues can cause disruptions to passengers, as trains have to come to a stop – causing knock-on effects across the network.
In a sign of the system’s effectiveness, there have been no disruptions to train services due to signal power faults between Caulfield and Pakenham since July 2020.
The UPS system prevented interruption and possible delay to services on 20 occasions.
Metro is now rolling out the Essential Services Distribution System throughout the remainder of the network to create a safer, more reliable journey for passengers.

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