The reporter advises that it is difficult for drivers to properly identify the colour indication of the CPLI. Various environmental conditions including fog and sun glare results in the CPLIs visibility as low as 500 metres at times. The reporter states that the reduced sighting distances results in train handling errors and reduced stopping capability.
The reporter states that LED indicators are used in some areas across the network, and provide far superior visibility. The reporter is of the belief that the introduction of LED indicators across the entire network would reduce train handling errors and reduce the risk of a serious incident.
Operator's response (Operator 1)
Light Indicators (Light Target Enhancer) are used on the [Operator] network within Train Order Working territory. In Train Order Working territory the route is governed by the issue of Train Orders to manage the movement of rail traffic.
The Light Indicator is not a signal and does not provide a movement authority. It displays a colour-light indication that the infrastructure conditions are correct for the train to move over the points set and locked for the main line or for the crossing loop as required. If the points are not set for either the main line or the crossing loop a red aspect is displayed.
The Code of Practice for the Defined Interstate Rail Network requires the train crew on approach to the Location Ahead Sign (installed 2500 m in advance of the Yard Limit Sign) to reduce speed and be prepared to stop before the facing points. The maximum speed may be maintained or resumed when the train crew has confirmed that the correct indication is displayed.
It is recognised that the sighting distance of the Light Indicator can vary dependent on the current environmental conditions e.g. rain, fog, dust. It is the requirement of a driver to have route knowledge and therefore know that they are approaching a location and therefore have to bring their train under control, dependent on the environmental conditions this may vary when brakes are applied.
The Light Indicators are focused along the rail to provide optimum sighting of the Light Indicator for approaching rail traffic. There are locations equipped with LED type Light Indicators. LEDs have been installed at crossing loops constructed in the last 8-12 years and locations where Repeater Light Indictors have been installed due to localised terrain issues (i.e. cutting, tight track alignments etc.).
Regulator's response (Regulator 1)
ONRSR was aware of the issues raised in the report and had liaised with the operator in relation to the matter. In late 2018, before receiving the REPCON Report, the operator confirmed that a replacement plan is in place to upgrade the indicators to better performing LEDs. An implementation plan, including timeframes for implementation and prioritisation of sites has been received and ONRSR considers the actions appropriate to mitigate the risks.