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New tech makes Aldridge Smart Signals even smarter

 Aldridge is a name that’s been synonymous with signalling innovation in Australia. 

In 1995, the organisation designed, manufactured and commissioned Australia’s first LED rail signals into the Sydney Underground System, better known as ‘The City Circle’. 

In 2015 Aldridge developed two smart signals for Bombardier. There was a two digit (RL632) and a three digit (RL633) ‘smart’ route indicator for the Purple Line Project in Bangkok. 

An enhanced signal developed was a three digit ‘smart’ route indicator (RL633) for the Purple Line in Bangkok. These new ‘smart’ route indicators incorporated digits comprised of five millimetre (mm) white LEDs and sophisticated fault detection/monitoring. RL632) for the Klang Valley MRT project in Kuala Lumpur 

Subsequently, in 2017 Aldridge adapted this ‘smart’ signal technology to suit the demanding requirements prescribed by Alstom for the North-West section of the Sydney Metro Rail line. 

This new application required incorporation of a four-aspect Points Position Indicator (PPI) for mainline running which was supplemented with a ‘smart’ two-digit Main Route Indicator (MRI), for shunting. All this was fitted into a 270mm wide enclosure. 

The smart running signals are based on a European design which includes a white PPI indicating proceed Left, Straight Ahead or Right, plus a Red Horizontal Bar for Stop. 

The smart shunting signals display the MRI number immediately above the PPI with the upper MRI and lower PPI being totally separate and electrically isolated signals. The two-digit MRI displayed on the upper is a descriptive number which informs the train driver which destination the points arrangement will take him to. 

This ‘smart’ signal methodology enabled one common route indicator hardware platform to be ‘factory programmed’ ahead of shipping and commissioning according to arbitrarily designated signal routes rather than requiring numerous, ‘hard-wired’ route indicators. 

A recent enhancement of the Sydney Metro ‘smart’ MRI signal for a new project in Manila which is nearing completion includes replacing the numeric MRI with alpha codes. The signals also include capacity for a significant number of ‘spare’ routes for future expansion of their rail network, which can be ‘pre-loaded’ as ‘spare’ route display combinations in anticipation of being used at a later date. This offers increased route selection capacity and enhanced reliability. 

To see a video demonstration of the running Smart Signals in action on the Sydney Metro, head to Aldridge’s Instagram @railsignal. For any further information about Smart Signals reach out to the Aldridge team.