As part of the investment in the Hunter Valley rail corridor, ARTC has completed stage 4 installation of the Centralised Traffic Control (CTC) system on the Muswellbrook to Gulgong line.
The new signal technology will remove an infrastructure bottleneck by replacing the old Electric Train Staff (ETS) mechanism.
Under the former system trains would stop approximately every 20km to check that the line ahead was clear and use the staff (token) for the section to ensure the route ahead was correctly set.
The new CTC system with will put in place a signal system controlled remotely by the Network Controller in Broadmeadow.
ARTC CEO David Marchant said the new signalling system was part of the 2007 – 2012 HV Coal Network Capacity Improvement Strategy and represented a significant boost for the coal industry in the Hunter.
“This is a major improvement for the Hunter Valley coal network and the economy of the region in general. It will eliminate a longstanding infrastructure bottleneck from the system,” Mr Marchant said.
“Under the old system, trains stopping and starting meant considerable delays. The new CTC system has the potential to save over an hour in transit time in each direction along the corridor,” he said.
“The effect will be to increase the number of paths and allow faster cycle times for trains which will increase the capacity of the track and enable the transport of more coal from this growing region,” Mr Marchant said.
Specifically the CTC system will mean faster loop entry and exits and allow better train management by the Network Controller.
“Demand for Hunter Valley Coal is set to grow exponentially by 2012. This investment in new signal technology is part of ARTC’s strategy for the Hunter corridor to keep ahead of future market demands,” Mr Marchant said.