New Signal System Removes Bottleneck For Brisbane To Sydney Rail Link

Australian Rail Track Corporation have removed a significant rail infrastructure bottleneck between Brisbane and Sydney by replacing the old Electric Train Staff (ETS) mechanism, first developed in 1890, with 2008 digital signal technology.

As part of the investment in the Brisbane to Sydney rail corridor, ARTC has completed the installation of the Centralised Traffic Control (CTC) system between Casino NSW and Acacia Ridge QLD.

Under the former ETS system trains would stop approximately every 20km at a station to pass trains coming in the opposite direction, and receive the ‘token’ for permission to travel along the next section of track to the next station or crossing loop.

The new CTC system with will put in place a signal system controlled remotely by the Network Controller in Newcastle and Brisbane (for the Qld portion).

ARTC CEO David Marchant said the new signalling system represented a significant boost for the North/South rail corridor.

“This CTC signal system will eliminate a longstanding infrastructure bottleneck from the system.  It forms part of the north-south strategy to cut the transit time between Sydney and Brisbane to 15 hours 35 minutes,” Mr Marchant said.

“Although the old staff and token system was top-of-the-line technology for the 1890s, trains stopping and starting meant considerable delays.  The new CTC system has the potential to save significant transit time in each direction along the corridor,” he said.

“The CTC between Casino and Acacia Ridge (Qld) will save 45 minutes on the Sydney-Brisbane rail corridor”, David Marchant 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 goods,” Mr Marchant said.

“The signal upgrades, the new concrete sleepers, and the passing lanes ARTC is constructing along the rail corridor, are combined, perhaps the biggest rail project since the track was originally laid,” Mr Marchant said.

“For ARTC it marks rail’s resurgence as a realistic freight option.”

“Rail will be more than competitive again and as each 1500 metre long train can replace 100 semi trailers we could see less trucks on our major roads,” Mr Marchant said.

“We’re quite proud of what has been achieved so far, and there’s more to come,” Mr Marchant said.

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