2. The Phoenix system

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Modern train signalling systems have undergone a digital transformation.

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For the purposes of this task, we'll be focusing on a train control system called the Phoenix system, which allows for the manipulation of points and signals to change routes and clear roads for trains.

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This system is used in parts of NSW and Victoria, but only on bi-directional single lines (that is,

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You can read the specifications for Phoenix operation here. Take a moment to study the Train Orders and Authorities that are made by Network Controllers on this system.


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A quick recap on the responsibilities of the Network Controller:

  • Make sure all site works have been completed and technical staff are clear of the tracks before the trains begin moving
  • Manage train launch-out times
  • Look out for any abnormalities
  • Liaise with others to determine how train movements should respond in extreme weather conditions
  • Facilitate rail access when accidents occur or maintenance needs to be performed
  • Manage rolling stock

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Signalling Information fed back to Network Controllers is;

  • Track Detection – Occupied or not
  • Signal Indications – Clear or Normal (Red). The Phoenix display is only an overview – it does not reflect the actual in field indications, rather if it has a proceed indication.
  • Points Positions – Normal or Reverse (turnout direction)
  • Set routes – Entrance and Exit of a set route
  • Blocking Facilities – Inhibit the use of a signal or access to track that has had blocking facilities applied (for example where work on track is located)
  • Warnings or Alarms – Level Crossing Faults, Communication errors, Signals Passed at STOP etc.

The provided information allows the Network Controller to undertake critical analysis on the situation and replan rail traffic movements, work on track events and other tasks required to keep the network close to its scheduled time and safety margins.

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