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PublishedNov 06, 2014
TasRail is set to realise further improvements in its safety and productivity performance, following the successful commissioning of the first stage of an $11 million project that will see an Advanced Network Train Control System (ANCS) progressively installed across the State’s Freight Rail Network.

The new ANCS has just been successfully commissioned across the Melba Line.  The Melba Line operates between Burnie and Melba Flats (south of Rosebery) and is a strategically important section of the Rail Network used to haul bulk commodities from West Coast mines.    

Chief Executive Officer Damien White said the ANCS is a critical element in the rebuilding of Tasmania’s Rail Freight business and is ideally suited to TasRail’s operating environment. 

“The ANCS literally propels TasRail’s operations into the 21st Century”, he said. “With the successful commissioning of new locomotives and wagons near completion, and the reliability of the network greatly improved, TasRail can proudly say that it now delivers modern, innovative and competitive freight logistics solutions for its customers. 

Unlike a majority of TasRail’s other major capital projects, Mr White said the ANCS literally touches all parts of the freight railway operation. “Every employee and contractor interacting with railway network is learning how to use the new system, and the first stage commissioning demonstrates the capability of TasRail’s workforce to adapt to the new technology”, he said. “By necessity, the planning and implementation processes are complex and have required comprehensive risk management and change management processes.”  

“The ANCS is a GPS-based system supported by a digital data radio network that ensures significant additional safeguards for both rail movements and track maintenance activities”, Mr White said. “It provides much improved visibility of network occupation, combined with GPS-based alarming to warn users of potential occupation and/or speed breaches. By contrast, the old system was paper-based and required considerable human interaction meaning that it was vulnerable to human error and resulted in a relatively high number of safeworking breaches”.

TasRail went through an exhaustive procurement process to select the new system and suppliers with the right experience. The ANCS is supplied by Siemens Rail Automation Pty Ltd, supported by a digital data radio network designed and supplied by Tait Communications. Project support is also being provided by Australasian Railway Consultancy Services, particularly during the planning and implementation phase.   

“I’m extremely proud of TasRail’s whole project team”, Mr White said. “The passion and commitment by them has been outstanding, and likewise the level of professionalism and support from our employees and key suppliers has been fantastic”.

The project was included in Tasmania’s Rail Recovery Plan and is funded by the Tasmanian Government. 

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