You can get lonely out there!
“You can get lonely out there!” sighed the track inspector. He had described working alone on some of the most remote rail track in Australia, travelling vast distances far from the highway. Radio often is his only contact with others. Even when close to population centres railway lines can be remote or relatively inaccessible, with only train radio for communication. It would seem reasonable to expect that train radio systems would provide a robust and reliable link for people working in such environments. Is this expectation realised? To test this we review a number of incidents and the performance of train radio and communication systems in these incidents. Some design decisions are discussed and their hidden features and risks are explored. It is evident that to not make a design decision is in fact to make a decision, but with an unpredictable outcome. Incidents are usually the result of the failure of multiple defences against error: communication systems may be the last line of defence against disaster. As the last defence, the non-vital communication system can become very important. The communication system can be as important after the incident, for reporting and recovery. Since incidents are relatively rare, it is essential that the communication system designer have a very comprehensive understanding of the requirements for all modes of operation. We advocate the adoption of international standards for railway communications. These standards benefit from the experience of many railways and are continually tested on a much larger scale than could ever be achieved in Australia alone.
- Record URL:
- Aitken J
- Publication Date: 2004
- Pagination: 8p.
- Monograph Title: New horizons for rail: CORE 2004: conference on railway engineering, June 20-23 2004, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia
- TRT Terms: Communication systems; Incident management; Occupational safety; Railroad transportation
- ATRI Terms: Communications; Incident management; Occupational health; Rail transport
- Subject Areas: Railroads; Safety and Human Factors;
- Accession Number: 01517208
- Record Type: Publication
- Source Agency: ARRB
- Files: ATRI
- Created Date: Mar 4 2014 8:13PM