End of staff safeworking in north west NSW

 
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner


ARTC has issued a Safe Notice for “progressive” implementation, commencing Friday 15th April 2016, of Phoenix Train Order System over several lines in North-West NSW.

Lines affected include Werris Creek – Merrygoen – Gulgong (currently Staff & Ticket), and Merrygoen – Dubbo – Narromine – Goobang Junction (currently Electric Staff).

No date is given for completion of the work.  


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  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
The only suprise for me is that Staff working lasted as long as it did.

Other than heritage operators is there any more staff working left?
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Other than heritage operators is there any more staff working left?
steve_w_1990
I believe Mittagong Junction - Braemer is still Staff & Ticket. When was it last used?

The private South Maitland Railways I think still uses Staff & Ticket.



ARTC has also issued separate Safe Notices for Phoenix Train Order introduction on each line. Of note:

Werris Creek - Binnaway - Merrygoen commissioning work starts Monday 18th April;

Gulgong – Merrygoen - Dubbo from Wednesday 20th April.

This should see all remaining semaphore signals removed from those lines.



Have yet to see a Safe Notice for Dubbo – Narromine – Goobang Junction, but it can’t be far off.
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
I forgot about Mittagong to Bremar, however there is a safe notice stating that the staff for that section has been lost/ stolen, so a special proceed order is needed for any rail movements along that line.

With the withdrawal of electric staff working in the north west, that brings an end (as far as I know) to Electric Staff working in NSW, and possibly Australia. Does anyone else know of any other ETS sections still in use?
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I am curious as to will they retain the Special Train Staff and Ticket working during programed works or do a total shut down and cancel everything?
  redroh Station Staff

SAFE Notice issued today for commissioning Phoenix Train Order Dubbo - Peak Hill from Sat 23/4


  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
For someone who is not that informed about how the signalling works, can you tell me how the old system worked and how the new system will work (or point me to some links somewhere that I can read up on it)?

Thanks.
  steve_w_1990 Junior Train Controller

Location: Trying to fix something on the PTA Network
[quote="james.au"]For someone who is not that informed about how the signalling works, can you tell me how the old system worked and how the new system will work (or point me to some links somewhere that I can read up on it)?

The old system was worked by "Token Working" Both by a single staff on some sections, and electric staff on other sections, Wikipedia has a great article on how this works https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Token_(railway_signalling).
The advantage to this system was the fact that you had to have the staff on you (or at least sighted the staff before issuing a ticket) and that proved that the line was clear.

The new system "Phoenix Train Order Working" I'm not sure of the ins and outs of it, but train order working from my knowledge, is a system whereby an area controller authorises all train movements in the area under his control by issuing train orders to rail traffic in the area. The advantage on this system is that instead of drivers needing to stop at every safeworking point to change staffs, they can get an order form the area controller, and then only stop if they actually need to pass another train. This saves time on not only exchanging staffs, and stopping and starting the train back up, but also saves wear and tear on brakes.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlmwAnlctw0 This video by Steve Jeffs shows a train order being accepted by the driver and the video below shows the train order being fufilled

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fUujDP0DM1c
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@steve_w_1990, very much appreciated.  Thanks for taking the time to put the links to youtube in as well.

It sounds pretty much like an air traffic control recording, only a little less formal.
  redroh Station Staff

Steve_w_1990,
Thanks for the videos of the TO being issued and fulfilled.

I gather since the fitting of ICE (in-cab equipment) radios to all locos, XPTs etc that TOs are now electronically sent to drivers, can be confirmed while on the move and constantly displayed. The driver still reports at required locations with security codes still being used. The paper-based system, as in the videos is still available if the computerised system fails. Correct?
  2LaGrange Train Controller

Steve_w_1990,
Thanks for the videos of the TO being issued and fulfilled.

I gather since the fitting of ICE (in-cab equipment) radios to all locos, XPTs etc that TOs are now electronically sent to drivers, can be confirmed while on the move and constantly displayed. The driver still reports at required locations with security codes still being used. The paper-based system, as in the videos is still available if the computerised system fails. Correct?
redroh
JHR (John Holland Rail) CRN (Country Rail Network) areas of control (Branch lines and Mainlines in NSW they Control) are all electronic train orders using ICE radio.

ARTC in NSW will still use paper train orders in train order territory whether that be normal train orders like used from Stockinbingal-Parkes-Goobang Jct-Broken hill Section. Or the new PTOS Train orders system currently being introduced to replace remaining Electric Staff and Ordinary Staff sections in NSW.

A logical thing would have been for ARTC to adopt the CRN electronic train order system so we had one train order system in NSW but we can not have that that's too logical... so now we have 3 different train order systems in use in NSW.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
ARTC is probably waiting for ATMS to come in to do away with all of its different signalling systems.

Plus, ARTC is funding all it does from its own revenues, I bet the CRN is not.
  2LaGrange Train Controller

ARTC is probably waiting for ATMS to come in to do away with all of its different signalling systems.

Plus, ARTC is funding all it does from its own revenues, I bet the CRN is not.
james.au
Last time I checked the ARTC was funded by and owned by the tax payer. Just like the NSW government via tax revenue pays JHR to run the CRN network with tax payer funds and any revenues raised for access to these networks by users is used to help fund both networks.

The Federal Government has committed $50M towards AMTS implementation so ARTC are hardly "funding all it does from their own revenues"

We still had the opportunity to streamline the operations of trains in NSW with one system but now we have three.

Waiting for AMTS isn't really an excuse as who knows when that will come in NSW and a lot of money has been invested to go to PTOS that could have been spent to tag onto Electronic paperless system that CRN use.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Don't get me wrong, I believe that one signalling system would be better than three, but there are funding realities that constrain operations.

Re ARTC, I perhaps wasn't specific enough.  All that ARTC does now, i.e. existing maintenance, sidings/loops/lanes, signalling provision, etc) is paid for our of its own earnings.  ATMS and probably Inland Rail will have federal funding, but pretty well anything to do with current state, is coming out of the access fee revenue.

Check out the latest ARTC report for how it is they are expected to work these days.

You could argue that the ATMS funding was merely the dividends from the last few years left in the company too....
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Watching that video reminds me of when a RULE 307 was issued for a Train to Proceed during a specific situation that prevented the normal signaling system to be used.
Also a 'Proceed Order' on Single Line due to some problem relating to the Staff and Ticket or Electric Staff.
The only main difference I see here is that Control communicates directly with the Driver rather than a Signalbox with the completed form handed to the Train Driver.

I though they were aiming at having a devise in the Loco that would receive the Order and display on a screen or print out the details authorising the Train to proceed through the section instead of still manually filling out forms but that doesnt seem to have eventuated.

Can they issue an Order while the Train in running as it approaches a 'Location' to be able to proceed into the section ahead or must it be stationary or are the Orders 'flexible' so that they can issue one to go from A to C if the section from B to C is clear?

Train Order issued to proceed from A to B and on arrival at B, a new Order is issued to proceed from B to C with the Order from A to B now cancelled or can they now if the area between A and C is clear, issue an order accordingly?

Most OTS sections were at least 30 plus minutes at least or as one I heard of between Parkes and Broken Hill was 70 miles (110 Km) long?
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

The problem with traditional Train Order safeworking was that there was nothing to prevent the Train Controller from issuing conflicting orders, other than his memory aided by a manually compiled graph. Looking from a risk management perspective, TO systems were an Administrative control, (very low on the 'Hierachy of Controls'); effectively a system induced accident waiting for a time and place to happen.

What provision is there in the new crop of TO systems to prevent the Train Controller issuing conflicting orders?
  KRviator Moderator

Location: Up the front
Can they issue an Order while the Train in running as it approaches a 'Location' to be able to proceed into the section ahead or must it be stationary or are the Orders 'flexible' so that they can issue one to go from A to C if the section from B to C is clear?

Train Order issued to proceed from A to B and on arrival at B, a new Order is issued to proceed from B to C with the Order from A to B now cancelled or can they now if the area between A and C is clear, issue an order accordingly?
gordon_s1942
You could take your Order on the run, and I regularly did so when working west to Dubbo. The only catch was, on the 81's, the majority had the CountryNet handset to the left of the Driver, so if you were the Fireman, you either ended up garrotting your mate, or ended up doing as I did, sitting on the inspector's seat to take the Order.

I don't believe they can issue an Order from A->C, and approaching B, give you a new Order from A->D. Much easier to give you a consecutive Order from A->C and then C->D. You can have multiple valid Order's issued to a train, but only one of those Order's is currently "active" so to speak. The rest are for sections in advance.

The problem with traditional Train Order safeworking was that there was nothing to prevent the Train Controller from issuing conflicting orders, other than his memory aided by a manually compiled graph. Looking from a risk management perspective, TO systems were an Administrative control, (very low on the 'Hierachy of Controls'); effectively a system induced accident waiting for a time and place to happen.
What provision is there in the new crop of TO systems to prevent the Train Controller issuing conflicting orders?
"Lockspike"
Not quite...When you fulfilled your TO, the system either electronically blocked the track where you were standing (for a TO to a Yard Limit Sign), or if you fulfilled your order within Yard Limits, the "system" asked the Train Controller what roads were occupied, so if you were on the Main at B, the system wouldn't allow a TO from A -> C.

That being said, it came down to the Train Controller accurately specifying what roads were available for traffic, and it very nearly failed catastrophically one night when the XPT was given a TO through Manildra (IIRC) with a wheatie standing on the Main after fulfilling his TO and the Controller didn't block the right roads.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

SAFE Notice issued today for commissioning Phoenix Train Order Dubbo - Peak Hill from Sat 23/4
redroh
There is now a Safe Notice for the final section from Peak Hill to Goobang Jct. Introduction starts Sunday 24/4/2016.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner



The problem with traditional Train Order safeworking was that there was nothing to prevent the Train Controller from issuing conflicting orders, other than his memory aided by a manually compiled graph. Looking from a risk management perspective, TO systems were an Administrative control, (very low on the 'Hierachy of Controls'); effectively a system induced accident waiting for a time and place to happen.
What provision is there in the new crop of TO systems to prevent the Train Controller issuing conflicting orders?
Not quite...When you fulfilled your TO, the system either electronically blocked the track where you were standing (for a TO to a Yard Limit Sign), or if you fulfilled your order within Yard Limits, the "system" asked the Train Controller what roads were occupied, so if you were on the Main at B, the system wouldn't allow a TO from A -> C.

That being said, it came down to the Train Controller accurately specifying what roads were available for traffic, and it very nearly failed catastrophically one night when the XPT was given a TO through Manildra (IIRC) with a wheatie standing on the Main after fulfilling his TO and the Controller didn't block the right roads.
Thanks KRviator.
It seems the track out in the section is adequately protected.
However, it seems an order can be fulfilled in a yard including a running road that a train is occupying!!! if so, technically I should think it's an easy fix. Idealogical reasons are far more difficult to address.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
The reason I asked about multiple section is if you still have to 'arrive at' and Stop as you do with both ES and OTS, then it gains nothing in time nor saves wear and tear as was suggested in another post.

Today the majority of OTS locations were unattended anyway so no employee's are affected by its removal from use and no secure 'shelter' is required to house the Token when its not in use anymore.

All you need is a marker to say where you are and thats it.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

The Phoenix Train Order system is a computer assisted train order system.

The network controller creates orders by entering the details into a computer. The computer checks to ensure that there is no conflicting order and then generates a random number known as the 'security code'. The network controller reads the order, including the security code, to the driver who fills in a paper form. The driver reads the order back to confirm that they have received it correctly. The network controller is not allowed to record the security code. After the order is issued, only the computer and the driver know the code.

When the order is fulfilled, the driver reads the security code back to the network controller who enters it into the computer. If the security code matches, the computer frees the section covered by the train order. A new train order can then be issued.

The value of the security code is that freeing the section requires the co-operation of the driver and the network controller. The network controller cannot unilaterally clear a section.

The key risks in normal operations is that the driver mistakenly fulfills the train order when the section is not clear, and that the driver does not follow the instructions on the train order.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Thanks Historian, A 'redundant' ex Signalman who worked the early version explained it to me.
Like all systems if the instructions for its operationare not followed then things can go seriously wrong.

I have had an ETS over carried in an unattended section  because the crew  each though the other had exchanged it and hadnt and the 'Famous' use of a Coal Pick instead of the OTS on the Water Trains out between Menindee and Broken Hill over a Xmas~New Year period so the Crews could have Xmas at home.
  brucetheinsider Beginner

The John Holland Electronic Authorities is ideally suited to the ARTC network.  For example the Parkes-Broken Hill-Stockinbingal TO system could be upgraded to use EAs with the ICE - ie the same as JH do.  However the JH TMACS EAs (Australian technology) undermines the ARTC business case for the much more expensive and American ATMS.  ATMS has now been under development for ten years....bloody long time.

So although ARTC got not ATMS implementation funding in the May 16 budget they will sit on their hands and do nothing when they could deliver EAs very cheaply to give the struggling freight business a better service.  Plus I think ARTC is still upset that they lost the tender to extend their operations & maintenance of the NSW CRN to John Holland.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Ten years is nothing when you consider how long and at what it cost to implement the OPAL ticket system in NSW...........

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