Rail

How telecommunication supports Queensland Rail’s operation

Therese Miller, General Manager Train Operations at Queensland Rail

Therese Miller, General Manager Train Operations at Queensland Rail

Queensland Rail owns, operates and maintains a substantial investment in its Telecommunications Backbone Network (TBN). Supplemented by external services, the TBN is used to support Queensland Rail’s operational and business communications.

In the lead up to the ARA’s Telecommunications and Train Control Conference, we are joined by Therese Miller, General Manager Train Operations at Queensland Rail to discuss the challenges of operational and business communications and how Queensland Rail is being supported by its communication technologies. 

What do you think are some of the key challenges in operational and business communications?

Therese: Some of the challenges we face in the rail sector are:

  • Keeping customers informed about the train services and accessibility we offer, particularly during periods of disruption
  • Recovery from an accident or event in a timely but safe manner
  • Tracking resources such as rolling stock and train crew
  • Distributing information regarding planned maintenance or construction throughout our business, and onto the customer

How can telecommunications help to overcome these challenges?

Therese: Telecommunications will be able assist overcoming these challenges by providing:

  • provision of real time applications for customer and station staff use
  • visibility of train operations to our frontline station staff and maintenance personnel
  • a dedicated channel of communication from an integrated control centre
  • provision of Web based rolling stock and train crew allocation and tracking systems

Could you give us an overview of how the operational and business communications support Queensland Rail?

Therese: Communication is a key part of our business and we use a combination of technologies that have been developed by the industry, and by Queensland Rail itself.

Key items that Queensland Rail has identified where support can be provided in the immediate future include:

OTR On time running/Customer experience: Continued enhancement of real time two-way communications between the operator and customer – at home, at work, at the station and on the train.

Reliability/Redundancy: Use of telecommunications to support/replace trackside safe working equipment.

Safety: Train protection based on telecommunications platforms – ETCS; improved communication between track workers and controllers with increased transparency between both roles and improved response to security issues through live monitoring of network and within rolling stock.

Resource Management: Train crew and rolling stock utilisation improvements with web based applications which improve tracking and communication.

Maintenance Opportunities: Tracking of rolling stock maintenance needs, through communication between specific parts within the train and the rolling stock depots.

Train Driving Opportunities: Provision of train driving information from data loggers available almost immediately for investigation and training opportunities.

You will be speaking at the upcoming Telecommunications & Train Control Conference, what is the key message that you’d like to share with the conference audience? Is there anything else you are looking forward to at the event?

Therese: Great opportunities have been given to Queensland Rail through the advancement from localised control to centralised control, which required development and introduction of supporting telecommunication systems; the development and use of wireless technology; and real time (two-way) communication applications and systems. I am looking forward to sharing experiences and learning what other operators and agencies are working on in these important areas.

Therese has over 40 years of continuous service in the Rail Industry in Queensland, and 32 of these years are within field of train control and train operations.  She will be talking about Queensland Rail’s Telecommunications Backbone Network in detail at the upcoming Telecommunications & Train Control Conference, taking place on the 11th and 12th August in Sydney.

For more information about the event and to register, please visit the Telecommunications & Train Control Conference website.

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