1. Rail emergency situations

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Australia is notoriously affected by regular bushfire seasons.

Much of the Inland Rail alignment runs through regional NSW and bushfire vulnerable areas, and as a Systems and Signals Operator, you’re going to have to be prepared for the worst.

The scenario that you will be asked to respond to for this work experience is based on a real-world bushfire emergency that occurred in mid-April 2018, near Holsworthy in Sydney’s south west. By the time it was brought under control, 3800 hectares of land had been burnt.

This event also affected multiple train lines; that is, it required a coordinated response between separate Network Control centres belonging to both Sydney Trains and ARTC, on top of communicating with emergency services and train drivers.


Of course in extreme scenarios, damage is unavoidable, but it should be mitigated where possible. Externally mounted equipment is particularly susceptible to damage from the elements. This includes:

a) ‘track mounted’ equipment (like a automatic train stop), which is mounted directly or indirectly to rails, sleepers, transoms, track slabs, ballasts or bridges; and

2) ‘off-track’ equipment, which is mounted in the vicinity of running rail (think signal boxes and level crossings)


For example, in December 2019, bushfires destroyed signalling equipment throughout the Blue Mountains area, including at the historic Zig Zag railway...


So, how does signalling equipment take into account these environmental factors?

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