Rail safety issues and actions

Train Control System – design and screen display

Issue number: RO-2013-027-SI-01
Who it affects: ARTC network controllers
Issue owner: Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC)
Transport function: Rail: Operations control
Background: Investigation Report RO-2013-027
Issue release date: 13 January 2015
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

ATSB believes that the safety action taken by ARTC will adequately address the safety issue.

Safety issue description

The Train Control System permitted the NCO to set an unviable route for the train and then displayed it as viable. The train control system alarm designed to alert the NCO to the setting of an unviable route was nullified by the absence of gauge detection.



Response to safety issue
In future, if modifications are made that alter or add to the Phoenix Train Control System display presentation, ARTC will provide both an engineering brief of the effects of this modification and operational instructions to Network Control Centre personnel.
ATSB comment/action in response
The action taken by ARTC does not address the inadequacy of the TCS system to prevent the NCO from setting a route of incorrect gauge in dual-gauge territory.


Action number: RO-2013-027-SR-076
Action organisation: Australian Rail Track Corporation
Date: 13 January 2015
Action status: Released

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommends that ARTC undertake further action to address the risk of directing trains onto incorrect gauge track in dual-gauge territory.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 08 May 2015
Response from: ARTC
Action status: Closed
Response text:

ARTC have approved the following system safety enhancements:

  • A change to the Phoenix software program to prevent route setting when gauge detection has not been established. Under this condition an alarm will be displayed to the NCO and points on the affected route rendered unavailable for remote operation.
  • Mechanical gauge indicators will be installed to enhance information to train crews by indicating the gauge compatibility of the points setting. The above actions, combined with those previously implemented, will ensure an appropriate level of operational safety during failure conditions.
Last update 18 May 2015