contract signed for $10.6 million new train control system
19 August 2003
The modernisation of Perth's public transport system has moved another step forward with the State Government signing a $10.6 million contract for new train control and customer information systems for Transperth's urban rail network.
The successful tenderer, Queensland-based Union Switch and Signal Pty Ltd, has a workshop at Canning Vale, where 90 per cent of the work will be done.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said today the move to a new system was timely, given the continuing expansion and upgrading of Perth's passenger rail network.
"This state-of-the-art train control system will enable significantly better management of the network," the Minister said.
"Included in the contract is a new customer information system that 'sees' the location of all trains and continuously updates arrival and departure information at stations, including audio loops for hearing-impaired customers.
"The existing system was installed in 1989 not long before the northern line began operations. It is an LED-based (light emitting diode) display board with various elements in different locations to compensate for the limited hardware, software and communication links of the day.
"It has given excellent service and contributed significantly to the consistently high 97 per cent on-time running of our urban trains.
"However, the level of patronage on our urban rail network has trebled since its installation, and we are now on the verge of taking the next big step with the New MetroRail project, which includes expansion and upgrading on the northern and Armadale lines, as well as the new Perth-Mandurah line.
"This will double the number of railcars, increase the scale of the network by about 75 per cent and add 15 new stations. Average daily urban boardings are expected to top 200,000 by 2011, double the figure of 10 years earlier."
At the centre of the new system is a bank of eight, 1.2m-square video screens on which the rail system will be depicted in diagrammatic form. Up to four train controllers will monitor the display and control the network 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
As well as showing the position and status of all trains, signals, points and boom gates, the display can take a feed from video cameras at every station. This will help the controllers determine whether extra trains are needed to clear special-event crowds.
USS now starts a nine-month functional design process, after which the computer software will be configured for the Perth network.
"By November next year, we expect installation of the train control system to begin in a refurbished and redesigned area in the Public Transport Centre in East Perth, where the entire system can be housed," Ms MacTiernan said.
"It then begins controlling operations on Transperth's lines, starting with the Midland line in May, 2005, and being introduced on the other lines in stages."
The Minister also said the contract called for USS to provide training for Transperth's operational, maintenance, technical and management staff.
Transperth is a division of the newly established Public Transport Authority of Western Australia.