Signalling & Communications, Technology and IT

On the path to growth

Wabtec has defied the onset of COVID-19 to continue to grow in the signalling market.

The onset of COVID-19 has failed to halt the progress of Wabtec Corporation in the signalling market. The business is currently in the process of delivering several high priority projects across Australia including, the Shepparton Corridor Upgrade on the V/Line network in Victoria, an Electronic Train Order implementation on the V/Line network, the Morley to Ellenbrook line extension on the PTA network in Perth and the Hot Bearing Detector Upgrades on the Rio Tinto Iron Ore network in the Pilbara.

The business has grown year-on-year in the signalling market as well as via acquisitions including Track IQ in 2015 and the later acquisition of Lynx Engineering.

“This has enabled us to create a full wayside asset monitoring suite of products and services that complements our signalling business,” said Troy Wilson, Wabtec Control Systems VP operations for Victoria and Western Australia.

“This has made WCS a key player in the delivery of turnkey signalling and asset monitoring projects for the majority of rail operators throughout Australia.”

Recent history

The business began as C2CE in 2011 with offices in Perth and Melbourne. In 2014 the business was acquired by Wabtec Corporation along with another business Orion Rail and re-branded as Wabtec Control Systems. This expanded the business to have offices in all major state cities as well as business units in the Pilbara (Karratha and Port Hedland).

The asset monitoring business is global, with more than 200 installations across some 20 different countries, all delivered using Australian developed technology, designed and built in our Australian facilities. The company now employs in excess of 320 employees worldwide and is continuing to grow its presence in every state with the recent opening of a new facility in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.

“We also have staff based globally to maintain our global installation of asset monitoring systems and to promote our signalling and control system capabilities,” Wilson said.

“As a Wabtec company, WCS is supported around the world to ensure our customers receive prompt service and support in their local time zone.”

WCS primarily operate as a service supplier for the delivery of signalling, control system and asset monitoring projects and can complete the full project lifecycle including:

Project concepts and scoping;

Signalling, electrical, communications and mechanical design;

Factory assembly works;

Site civil, signalling, electrical and mechanical construction works;

Off-site testing, site acceptance testing and commissioning;

Project handover and maintenance;

Full track protection and traffic management services.

Other projects it is in the process of delivering include:

Level Crossing Improvement Programme on the ARTC network;

Level Crossing Upgrade Programme on the ARC network;

Various Points, Power and HBD upgrades on the BHP Iron Ore Network;

Delivery of wayside monitoring systems and associated data management capabilities to a range of railways in the Pilbara, Australian metro networks and across freight railway operations.

The team recently completed the installation, testing and commissioning of their first Train Control Office System in Australia on the Forteuscue Metals Group Iron Ore network.

“The product is the most widely implemented train control system within the United States freight market and this was the first adaptation of the product within Australia,” said Wabtec Control Systems managing director Graham Russell.

TCOS is an integrated train control solution that brings together multiple functions for Centralized Traffic Control (CTC), Track Warrant Control (TWC), Dark Territory (DT) and Positive Train Control (PTC).

This project has now rolled on to the delivery of the Electronic Train Order project upgrade for V/Line which will also utilise the same TCOS product. 

Once implemented it is envisioned this product could be rolled out to the majority of the V/Line network where sections of manual paper-based train orders are still implemented.

These train orders will be replaced by electronic train orders that are displayed directly to the driver on the driver’s screen.

“We anticipate the success of these initial projects will highlight to the Australian market the quality and maturity of the TCOS system resulting in greater adoption within the local market, to which it is suited,” Russell said.

“While the business has been forced to adapt throughout the COVID period, with many team members spending prolonged periods away from family the professionalism and experience of the WCS team enabled us to readily adapt to the remote working situation that faced all businesses throughout last year.”

Throughout it all the business was able to continue to thrive, and provide a quality service to our customers.

“We even managed to grow our team further throughout this period with additional work in Australia, as well as delivering asset monitoring projects in the US, Ireland and New Zealand utilising the Worldwide Wabtec team to support us,” Russell said.

The business has also grown to become one of the main suppliers of traffic management and safe working protection in the rail industry and currently have in excess of 70 employees working across Australia in this division. While predominantly delivering this service in the west of Australia we have expanded our service offering to the broader Australian market, being able to offer a high-quality service of well trained and qualified staff throughout Australia.

“There are exciting times ahead with WCS already signed up to deliver some of the major rail infrastructure upgrades throughout Australia over the coming years,” Russell said.

“The team is continuing to grow our capacity and capability to deliver on these works.”