Freight Rail, Market Sectors, Safety, Standards & Regulation, Signalling & Communications

Funding announced for train management system

New signalling technology, paid for by the federal government, is expected to prove a boon for safety

The Commonwealth government says it is investing a further $220 million for signalling technology to increase the safety and reliability of Australia’s freight rail network.

Deputy Prime Minister and infrastructure minister Michael McCormack and finance minister Simon Birmingham announced the funding for the next major planning phase of the Advanced Train Management Systems (ATMS) after its “successful” deployment and commissioning on the freight rail line between Port Augusta and Whyalla.

“After more than a decade of intense development, testing and design, a cutting-edge train management system has gone live in South Australia after commissioning trials were completed late last year,” the deputy PM said.

“We now look to the next phase of ATMS which will focus on planning and designing its implementation from Melbourne to Perth and linking the east-west freight corridor to Inland Rail through Parkes using ATMS as the new signalling platform.”

McCormack said the ATMS would strengthen and deliver high standards of safety and further reduce the risk of train-to-train and overspeed accidents.

“The freight rail industry and the Australian government have worked closely to explore the opportunities to accelerate ATMS implementation across the interstate rail network and I thank the rail industry and the Freight on Rail Group for their ongoing co-operation,” he said.

“When completed, the national rollout of ATMS will reduce the number of train control rules across the National Rail Freight Network from 18 to one representing a significant step towards skills interoperability for train drivers and network controllers.”

Minister Birmingham said the Australian government’s investment in advanced train technology would support the more efficient and safer movement of rail freight across Australia.

“This cutting-edge technology is going to be a game-changer in the way rail freight will be moved across Australia’s rail network and that’s why we’re backing it through this major $220 million investment,” Minister Birmingham said.

ARTC managing director and chief executive Mark Campbell said ATMS was a modern, communications-based, safe-working system designed for Australian conditions by ARTC and technology partner Lockheed Martin.

“ATMS revolutionises how trains operate on the national interstate rail network and provides a quantum leap forward in safety, capacity and productivity for freight rail operations,” Campbell said.

“Work is now underway to accelerate the next phase of ATMS deployment as the primary safe work system for 3,464 kilometres of track between Melbourne to Perth.”

Chair of Freight on Rail Group (FORG) and the ATMS Oversight Implementation Group, Dean Dalla Valle, said ATMS will deliver a significant and long-lasting safety and productivity boost for the sector.

“This ground-breaking technology will also help unlock latent capital of existing rail freight infrastructure and rollingstock,” Dalle Valle said.