Pandrol APC magnet cuts installation and maintenance costs

In many rail networks sections of the overhead catenary are neutral, requiring trains to stop drawing current from the overhead line. Ensuring that no power is drawn prevents the pantograph from arcing as it moves from the powered to unpowered catenary.

Craig Mulvay, technical and commercial development manager – APAC for Pandrol, explained how automatic power control (APC) magnets are used to regulate a train’s circuit breaker.

“Wherever there is an overhead catenary with a neutral section area that calls for the train’s pantograph circuit to be opened and closed before and after the train traverses the neutral section, then there is an application for APC magnets to signal the pantograph circuit breaker.”

Typically APC magnets are mounted on the field side of the rail. When trains pass the magnetic field created by the APC, an onboard sensor triggers a circuit breaker, stopping current from being drawn through the pantograph. A corresponding APC at the end of the neutral section restarts the electric connection between wire and train.

These traditional magnets are manufactured using ferrite magnet material. Despite being cheap, the magnets are large, heavy, and require regular checks as their strength degrades over time. Another drawback is that, due to the size of traditional magnets, specially extended sleepers have to be installed to accommodate fixation to the track. As Mulvay notes, in many networks, these requirements introduce extra costs.

“For the most part the technology used is still the larger ferrite type sleeper mounted magnet which requires long sleepers/bearers to be installed in the neutral section area. This creates additional design and site works to facilitate the installation.”

In addition to the cost of installing the extended sleepers, the magnets, which can weigh over 30 kilograms, need to be removed to allow tamping to take place. With the requirement for lifting equipment to remove these magnets, it is often common practice to not tamp these locations, leading to losses in track geometry quality.

To overcome these limitations, Pandrol has developed a White Super Strength Magnet. By utilising a neodymium-boron-iron magnet material, the APC’s magnetic field is more powerful and stable, and is encased in a compact, easy to install housing.

Now standard in the UK and weighing just 8kg, the magnet’s mounting mechanism can be attached to most flat-bottomed rail profiles, and most standard sleeper designs. The frame is made from 316 marine grade stainless steel to withstand harsh railway environments, and the ‘rare earth’ magnetic material is more stable at extreme temperatures. This entirely removes the need for extended sleepers to be installed at neutral sections of the overhead line.

“With our product the track design does not need to be customised to suit our rail mounted APC magnet,” said Mulvay. “Whereas if you use the older solution the track design needs to incorporate two long sleeper/bearers for each track magnet installed, positioning these adds work and complexity to the track/power system interface.”

In addition to the sound business case for installation, the low profile of the magnet allows for tampers and stone blowers to operate without its removal, reducing maintenance costs and building in a whole life benefit to the product use.

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Electrical fire on Auckland metro network

An electrical fire in a signal cabinet has damaged signalling to the south of Newmarket on the Auckland metro network at just after 5am on Monday morning.

The fire was sparked in a passenger train signalling cabinet.

Todd Moyle, KiwiRail Group chief operating officer, said the fire has been extinguished as of 8am Monday morning.

“KiwiRail staff are on site and will restore the system as quickly as possible,” Moyle said.

“We are working with TransDev to reroute Southern Line trains along the Eastern Line from Otahuhu. At this point, the heaviest impact is limited to trains running between Penrose and Newmarket. Western Line trains continue to operate.

“We apologise for the inconvenience to Auckland commuters but safety must be paramount. The cause will be investigated.”

The heaviest impact during the peak hour commute was stations between Newmarket and Penrose (Penrose, Ellerslie, Greenlane, Remuera) as trains couldn’t run on that section on the track.

TransDev re-routed Southern Line trains via Otahuhu along the Eastern Line to access Britomart and all Western Line trains continue to run following the incident.

Auckland Transport stated in an updated social media post that southern line services will continue via the eastern line and western line services are stopping at Newmarket as of 11.10am Monday morning.

Sydney opening caps big year for Alstom

Alstom Australia’s managing director Mark Coxon sat down with Rail Express after a whirlwind 2019, with big wins for Alstom across multiple states and sectors.

The New Year’s break is a welcome opportunity for rest and relaxation for many professionals. But for Mark Coxon and his team at Alstom Australia, the 2019/20 break was perhaps the most well-earned in recent memory.

Eleven days before Christmas, Sydney opened quite a large present. The first revenue services for the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail line between Circular Quay and Randwick represented the culmination of four years of construction and delivery.

Around 160,000 passengers rode the new line in its first two days, and they rode on some of the 60 Citadis X05 light rail vehicles delivered by Alstom.

By January 8, the line had already handled its first million passengers.

Alstom has also delivered the project’s power supply equipment (including two kilometres of APS wire-free ground power supply), energy recovery substations, signalling, communications, and depot equipment for the project, and is now underway on a 19-year maintenance contract.

“We’re very happy with this project,” Coxon, Alstom’s managing director in Australia and New Zealand, told Rail Express shortly after the Sydney opening.

“The Alstom scope has been on time, and we’ve had new technologies brought for the first time to Australia – another sign of confidence in the Alstom delivery capability.”

Light rail vehicles are rolling down George Street for the first time in more than 60 years. Unlike the original system, it is free of overhead wires for two kilometres of its route thanks to Alstom’s ground-based APS power supply.

APS, originally Alimentation Par le Sol – “fed through the ground” – but now anglicised to Aesthetic Power Supply, uses modern technology to safely feed power through the base of the LRV via a third rail between the tracks.

Coxon notes APS is a new technology in Australia, but also that the Citadis X05 is the latest version of Alstom’s light rail vehicle range.

“On top of that, the reverse cycle power- optimised substations were in our scope,” Coxon continues. “So that’s a number of new technologies we’ve brought to this iconic project, and it was great to see trams going down George Street – and great to be on that first tram.

While Alstom’s share of the project was successful, Coxon is well aware of the disruptions caused throughout the overall project’s delivery. But he’s confident the quality of service passengers will enjoy in the longer- term will make up for it.

“It’s obviously become a well-known project to Sydneysiders, and it’s been quite disruptive to residents during construction. But over time, I am sure the people of Sydney will appreciate the project, particularly as journey time reduces and the reliability continues to grow,” he said.

“To be honest, these projects historically around the world are quite disruptive, and this is on one of the oldest and busiest streets in Australia. It would be difficult to implement that kind of project anywhere in the world. We managed to get this one online in 2019, a bit later than planned, but the opening has been successful and we look forward to the growth of patronage of that system.”

Sydney Metro a roaring success

Despite all the exciting new technology in Sydney’s new light rail, perhaps the most exciting thing delivered by Alstom in Australia during 2019 was north of the city.

When Sydney Metro Northwest opened on May 26, passengers rode on a fleet of 22 new six-car, driverless metro trains from Alstom, which also delivered signalling and will handle ongoing maintenance work.

In its first six months, the new metro line had serviced more than 11 million journeys.

“It’s been a successful journey,” Coxon said. “It’s the first driverless metro system in Australia, so that took some time for passengers to get used to, but the reliability growth that we’ve seen on our system has been as expected, and very similar to other projects around the world. Today, we’re getting to around 99 per cent availability of the system.

“That project contains two successful aspects for us: the Alstom rollingstock but also the signalling system, our CBTC driverless Urbalis 400 system. The integration between the CBTC system and the rollingstock has been extremely good, and I think that’s one of the advantages of being an integrator of both technologies.”

Maintenance details

The success on Sydney Metro Northwest led the NSW Government to exercise a pre-agreed extension in the original contract to the next portion of the line, Sydney Metro City and Southwest. The news – a $570 million win for Alstom – means Coxon’s team will now deliver another 23 trains (with an option for more), and its Urbalis 400 CBTC along the new portion of the line.

Coxon told Rail Express the extension demonstrated the government’s confidence in Alstom and its colleagues in the Sydney Metro delivery team.

“We always knew the success of Northwest would be a critical component on the augmentation for City & Southwest,” he said. “It’s such an iconic and strategic project for Alstom, and City & Southwest is a similar scope to what we executed on Northwest. Again I think it will demonstrate the importance of integrating the CBTC signalling technologies with the rollingstock.”

Once complete, the City & Southwest project will combine with Northwest to create a 66-kilometre continuous line, complete with Alstom rollingstock and signalling.

“We’re looking forward, as well, to extending the maintenance scope to that full line,” Coxon added.

Huge win in WA

Alstom’s success in 2019 wasn’t limited to the east coast. Early in December it finalised a $1.3 billion deal to deliver 246 EMU railcars 6 DMU to PTA, the public transport operator in WA. Under the 10-year contract, at least 50 per cent of railcar assembly will take place in WA, at a 12,000 sqm plant near the old Midland Railway Workshops. Alstom will also undertake maintenance for 20 years with the option to extend to 30 years.

Coxon told Rail Express the contract win was the result of more than two years of work with the government, local businesses, training organisations and community.

“We’ve had a lot of engagement with local and international suppliers about the local content, and that concluded with the award of that project to Alstom, which we’re absolutely delighted with,” he said. “We’re looking forward to building a train in Western Australia that the people of Perth can be proud of.”

Work to build what will become Alstom’s new rollingstock base in WA is expected to be completed in 2021. Local work under the contract is expected to create at least 200 jobs in supply and maintenance, revitalising the state’s rail manufacturing sector.

“Obviously, it’s a long journey, and we’re going to be part of that recreation of the railcar manufacturing industry in Western Australia, but that’s not the first time Alstom have done that,” Coxon said. “We’ve done it all around the world; the US, South Africa, India, and of course 20 years ago in Victoria with the X’Trapolis trains.

“We’re not newcomers to it, but it is a new journey in Western Australia, and  we’re interested in taking the suppliers on board for that journey, as well as our future employees. We’re going to have to build up a strong skilled workforce in Western Australia.”

Coxon said Alstom is also looking to build a good partnership with the state’s Public Transport Authority, along with its suppliers to build a train which we hope to have on tracks by the middle of 2022.

“What made that contract so attractive to Alstom was the long-term maintenance contract, which allows us to make sure the rollingstock is designed to maintainability as well,” Coxon explained. “We’ll build a strong workforce for the build, and then progressively for the maintenance.

“We’ve included in the project our HealthHub technology which focuses on the predictive maintenance capability, to ensure we’re maintaining the core components as they’re being used, and we can plan our maintenance schedules to optimise availability of the product. That’s a similar product to what we’ve installed for the Sydney Metro, so it’s not the first time we’ve installed it here in Australia, but again is a first for Western Australia.”

Next X’Trapolis in the works

Alstom has been supplying its X’Trapolis metro fleet to Melbourne’s Metro Trains network for nearly two decades, with more than 102 trains delivered. “It has proven to be one of the most reliable products in Australia today, so we’re very proud of this product and our skilled workforce in Ballarat who deliver this,” Coxon said.

After being awarded the preliminary design contract for an X’Trapolis 2.0 in late 2018, Coxon said the team spent a large portion of 2019 working with the state towards a new generation of the successful train.

“The X’Trapolis 2 will have all the latest technologies, adapted to integrate seamlessly into the Melbourne network. We would like to see this product rolled out on the Melbourne network and continue the long and successful story of X’Trapolis Melbourne trains.”

Contractor announced for Geelong and Warrnambool line upgrades

Upgrades to the Geelong and Warrnambool line will be carried out by Downer, Rail Projects Victoria announced.

As part of the $1.75 billion Regional Rail Revival program, Downer will deliver signalling upgrades between Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool and a new crossing loop at Boorcan to increase reliability and improve recovery times on the Warrnambool line.

On the Geelong Line Downer will construct a second platform, duplicated track, a pedestrian overpass, improved and new parking, bicycle storage facilities, and more CCTV, lighting, and myki machines.

According to Mark Mackay, executive general manager transport projects at Downer, the project will draw upon Downer’s expertise.

“Our committed team of experts will deliver an integrated solution, future-proofed to minimise rework and maximise opportunities for passengers and the community,” he said.

Construction will begin in mid-2020 and completion is hoped for by late 2021.

In addition, Downer will construct a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds for the overnight stabling of V/Line trains for more frequent future services.

Elsewhere as part of the upgrades on the Regional Rail Revival program, planning works are being undertaken on Stage 2 of the Geelong Line Upgrade, which includes the Waurn Ponds Duplication Project. Track will be duplicated from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds, and level crossings will be removed at Fyans Street and Surf Coast Highway. South Geelong and Marshall stations will also be upgraded.

Downer will utilise its knowledge gained from the Waurn Ponds station in 2014, as well as work on the Bendigo station upgrade, and the High Capacity Metro Trains maintenance facility.

Q&A: Thales contributing to light rail revival

In this exclusive interview, Andrea Bastianelli and Massimo Poli discuss the innovative, digital solutions Thales is bringing to light rail transit, including the future Parramatta Light Rail project.

Andrea Bastianelli, is Thales’s product line manager for Light Rail Transit (LRT) Management and Control Systems and is based in Florence, Italy.

Massimo Poli has spent his recent life as project manager of many of Thales LRT projects, and is currently in Australia as global project manager of Thales’ Parramatta LRT.

Rail Express (REX): What’s your perspective on the revival of light rail transit in Australia and around the world?

Massimo Poli: Transport needs and challenges vary from city to city and the flexibility of light rail provides each city with the means to adapt LRT solutions to best serve their transportation needs and solve their challenges.

For example, it is in used as the main public transport mode in medium sized cities like Florence, Palermo and Manchester, and in larger cities it is used to complement the likes of metros and/or buses, to guarantee a multimodal and efficient public transport journey.

It is often used to connect emerging neighbourhoods to the main transport ring in larger cities like Taipei, where the new districts of Danhai and Ankeng are connected to the metropolitan transport network via the LRT line, or in Shanghai where the new district of Songjiang is connected to the urban mass transport system through an LRT network. The same goes for the Brazilian city of Santos and, of course, Parramatta in Western Sydney.

In other cases, LRT lines are also used to connect two cities together, as is the case in Cosenza-Rende, Italy.

With flexibility and sustainability at its core, it is a pleasure to be directly contributing to the rebirth of this transport system all around the world. In recent years, Thales has been actively involved in the implementation of LRT projects in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Andrea Bastianelli: The introduction of new generation LRT vehicles, with a low floor guaranteeing greater comfort and performance, has also contributed to the rebirth of this sector.

Newer project designs are increasingly providing lanes reserved for public transport. This has also ensured a more regular and punctual service.

If we also consider the characteristics of cost effectiveness, attractiveness and sustainability, it is easy to imagine why LRT networks become part of the cultural identity of the cities they serve – symbols of civic pride.

REX: So improved vehicles and corridors have been the key?

Poli: In part, yes. However, over the years every single LRT has been improved in order to provide a better value for money solution.

Thales has always provided control systems for public transport systems, including LRT. In particular, over the last 10 years or so, Thales has redeveloped
its solution designed specifically for this type of market, so that we can continue to deliver the highest levels of satisfaction – both for passengers and customers alike. Our solutions innovatively address the needs of passengers: Having a regular service, being informed accurately during normal operation or special events, security, and above all command and control systems that guarantee the movement of vehicles in a safe way.

REX: How does Thales help achieve that?

Poli: Our LRT solution provides the operator with an innovative command and control tool that performs functions in an integrated way; for example:

• Planning, automatic vehicle localisation, tram regulation, innovative priority management at road intersections, and signalling;

• Passenger information and comfort, and passenger security; and

• Remote control and communication.

Our new generation LRT solution was installed for the first time in the city of Palermo, in Italy. The architecture of the system and the technologies used give the system a high degree of flexibility, modularity and upgradability.

REX: And you’re always working to improve that offering?

Poli: Yes. Since the first commissioning of the first version of the new generation system, Thales has continued to regularly develop and improve its LRT solution based on experience and feedback from our customers.

One example is the development of a highly integrated control system that allows the optimisation (reduction) of hardware and software components on board, on the trackside and in the control centre, which in turn reduces equipment dimensions, installation complexity, maintenance requirements, simplifies configuration, and provides significant energy savings.

Another example is the development of an innovative architecture for the Automatic Vehicle Localisation (AVLS) function and priority request at road crossing and tram regulation, which provide the ability to automatically manage even special operating scenarios.

We’ve also worked to provide operators with a selection of technologies, so they can choose what’s appropriate to the operational scenario in question. An example would be the option of a passive RFID tag rather than inductive loops for vehicle detection.

Thales also provides additional tools such as configuration, simulation, playback functions including analysis tools and quality of service tools which are all focused on improving the LRT solution. This results in increased efficiency, reduced capital and operational costs, and a better customer experience.

REX: As we enter a new decade we can expect the further digitisation of systems
all throughout rail – what’s the roadmap for light rail?

Bastianelli: As Massimo described, Thales is continually updating and improving its LRT solution, to provide public transport operators and other customers with an increasingly efficient solution. The digitisation process of the LRT solution has been underway for several years.

Of particular note, some of the packages we are developing are focused on increasing the level of autonomy for light rail systems, some of which are already under test in Europe:

• Smart Positioning will allow the vehicle to geo-locate itself safely and autonomously using different sensors and information including Global Navigation Satellite Systems.

• Obstacle Avoidance to avoid collisions with possible obstacles on the LRV route.

• Broadband connectivity including the future operating scenario which will lead to autonomous driving for transport systems of this type implies. This required the ability of the vehicle to be always connected with the ground and control centre devices with large data exchanges between these devices.

• Of course for Thales, cybersecurity is integrated into our systems across all sectors, so such countermeasures have already been integrated into the solution and will also be configured in the next system that we are implementing for one of our customers.

These macro functions, combined with autonomous studies Thales is currently carrying out, will constitute the autonomous driving system for LRT-type transport, the implementation of which will follow the timeframes and recommendations that the national and international regulatory authorities are discussing.

During this transition period, macro functions will be added progressively to the standard solution in order to contribute with increasingly advanced systems in the implementation of efficient and sustainable LRT systems.

REX: Thales is sponsoring and taking part in the ARA’s Light Rail 2020 event in Canberra in March. What are you hoping to see discussed at the event?

Bastianelli: The message I would like to share is for customers to ensure they select delivery partners who have developed specific solutions for this market, with a high degree of innovation and additional functions in order to provide a regular and high quality service which is able to seamlessly manage normal operations as well as special events.

The selected partners should also have a clear vision on the future of digitalisation, without forgetting the knowledge of the specificities of the destination country.

High-capacity signalling test site under construction

A test site for high-capacity signalling is now being established at the Pakenham East Depot in Melbourne.

The test site will allow for the introduction of high-capacity signalling, described as “moving block” signalling systems, instead of “fixed block” systems. The new signalling system will enable trains to automatically adjust their speed, in order to maintain a safe distance from the train in front. This technology differs from current systems, which tell trains when it is safe to proceed to a new section of track via coloured signals.

High-capacity signalling is delivered by the Rail Systems Alliance, a consortium of CPB Contractors, Bombardier, Metro Trains Melbourne, and Rail Projects Victoria.

The test site will be constructed at Nar Nar Goon, in south east Melbourne. This will enable access to the high-capacity signalling platform and test track, situated inside the Pakenham East Depot.

Trackside equipment will be installed between March 2 and 6.

On the Melbourne network, high-capacity signalling will be installed on the Sunbury to Cranbourne/Pakenham line, as well as the Mernda Line between Epping and South Morang.

Signal control centres will be built at Sunshine and Dandenong. Signallers will support train movements across the lines from here, including through the Metro Tunnel.

In addition to the high-capacity signalling work, new high-capacity metro trains will be introduced on the Melbourne Metro network. On the platforms, floor-to-ceiling platform screen doors will be installed. These will reduce overcrowding, dwell times, and improve tunnel ventilation. These will be designed and supplied by Faiveley Transport. The platforms screen doors will also be tested at the Pakenham East depot.

Information sessions to be held for local involvement in N2N

Local suppliers in Narrabri and Moree can meet the shortlisted contractors for the Narrabri to North Star (N2N) leg of the Inland Rail project.

Inland Rail will hold two networking events in the two regional centres with the three shortlisted construction contractors. Local and Indigenous businesses can hear from the contracts and connect through one-on-one meetings.

According to chief executive of Inland Rail, Richard Wankmuller, the major contractors will be looking for local businesses to partner with.

“There are three excellent organisations bidding for this project including Lendlease Engineering Pty Ltd, RailFirst (a joint venture between Downer EDI and Seymour White) and Trans4m Rail (a joint venture between Rhomberg Rail Australia, John Holland and SEE Civil),” said Wankmuller.

“Each one will have representatives at this event to meet with local businesses and answer questions regarding potential supply opportunities on the N2NS project when construction starts.”

To make the most of the sessions, local contractors are encouraged to prepare and ‘elevator pitch’ and be able to showcase exactly what their business does and where it is located.

“I know there is excitement building along the N2NS alignment as we move towards construction and local businesses should be taking advantage of opportunities like these to promote their capabilities to the shortlisted contractors,” said Wankmuller.

According to Wankmuller, the successful primary contractor will be mandated to incorporate local industries.

“The successful contractor will be required to deliver significant local industry and workforce participation and training outcomes, and the Australian Rail Track Corporation will work very closely with them and other stakeholders to achieve these outcomes,” he said.

“We see Inland Rail as a way to create meaningful change in communities along the alignment by developing a pathway to support longer term economic development and employment outcomes.”

The sessions will be held on January 21, in Narrabri, and January 22, in Moree.

NSW government praised for resumption of services on Blue Mountains line

After fires forced the closure of the Blue Mountains line in late December and early January, limited services resumed between Mount Victoria and Lithgow on the evening of Monday, January 21.

Bushfires in the Blue Mountains area laid waste to a 25 kilometre stretch of railway, damaging signalling equipment and rail infrastructure. In early January services between Mount Victoria and Lithgow were expected to be closed for months, after being suspended since 19 December.

Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, Paul Toole, highlighted that crews have been working on restoring services since the closure.

“Sydney Trains’ engineers have worked tirelessly to develop temporary systems that will allow us to restore rail connectivity and safely operate a limited number of freight trains from Monday evening and passenger trains from Tuesday 21 January,” he said.

“We recognise how important this rail connection is to passengers travelling to and from the west and to moving freight and we are doing everything possible to resume full services as soon as possible.”

Freight on Rail Group (FORG) of Australia chair Dean Dalla Valle, praised the NSW government for its swift resumption of services, noting that without the rail line, more freight had to be moved via roads.

“NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole MP and Sam Farraway MLC – both Bathurst boys – immediately understood the urgent need to restore rail freight services along the bushfire impacted section of track between Lithgow and Mount Victoria.”

The damage was so extensive that significant parts of the line will need to be wholly restored, said Toole.

“This will be a long recovery process as we are essentially rebuilding some parts of the operating system from scratch.”

Sydney Trains staff have removed over 300 trees and relaid kilometres of communication, electrical, and signal wiring.

Dalla Valle highlighted the nature of the NSW operator’s response.

“I’d also like to call out Sydney Trains Chief Executive Howard Collins OBE for rolling up his sleeves, quickly travelling to bushfire impacted zones to assess first-hand what needed to be done, and liaising closely with industry,” said Dalla Valle.

Schedules are still be altered to account for maintenance, said NSW TrainLink chief executive Pete Allaway.

“The first Bathurst Bullet, the Broken Hill XPLORER and most Dubbo XPT services will resume to a slightly altered timetable, with the remaining affected services to continue to be replaced by coaches and buses while repair work continues.”

V/Line driver’s near-miss with a train after failing to stop at signals

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) rail safety investigation found a V/Line driver ran through a level crossing before the boom gates were down at Marshall, Victoria.

On January 2nd 2018 at around 2pm, V/Line train 7750 travelling to Geelong and 1305 V/Line travelling to Warrnambool were heading towards each other on a single track in suburban Geelong.

The two trains were 940m apart from colliding when a control room worker in Melbourne issued an emergency call instructing the drivers to stop.

The ATSB found that the driver of train 7750 did not respond to the Stop indications of signals MSL10 and MSL8 at Marshall.

The driver of train 7750 entered the single line section between Marshall and South Geelong and then into the Marshalltown level crossing before the crossing booms had lowered.

At approximately the same time, The 1305 V/Line Melbourne to Warrnambool service with two crew and 166 passengers on board had departed Geelong and was headed towards Marshall on the same single line section.

The trains were scheduled to cross using the loop track at Marshall.

The investigation report stated that in preparation for the cross of the two trains at Marshall, the train controller “was observing the signalling control and CCTV VDU when he saw train 7750 go through Marshall platform travelling too fast to stop at MSL10,”

“Realising that train 7750 would not be able to stop, the train controller made a fleet radio transmission to all trains in the area to ‘Red Light’ (Stop), the CCTV also allowed the train controller to confirm that train 7750 had stopped beyond the Marshalltown Road level crossing.”

The investigation concluded that the driver of V/Line train 7750 was most likely influenced by symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal, having not applied a nicotine patch on that day.

“Following this incident, the driver of train 7750 tested positive for an inactive metabolite of cannabis, with levels suggesting use within the previous 7 days,” the report stated.

It could not be determined whether that had affected the driver’s performance at the time of the incident.

Report authors say attempts by V/Line safety critical workers to stop smoking should be managed under medical supervision.

As a result of the incident, V/Line has installed a train protection system at Marshalltown Road level crossing to stop a train that has passed a signal at Danger, which has over-speed sensors to prevent a train entering the crossing when unprotected.

V/Line has continued with planning for the provision of three-position signalling for this section as part of other infrastructure projects.

The driver of train 7750 no longer works for V/Line.