Alstom's validation and fault monitoring processes
Date issue released
Safety Issue Description

Neither Alstom’s validation processes nor fault monitoring processes were sufficient to detect the overcharging of batteries prior to the event.

Issue number
Issue Status
Closed – Adequately addressed
Transport Function
Rail: Passenger - metropolitan
Issue Owner
Alstom Australia Limited
Mode of Transport
Issue Status Justification

The ATSB is satisfied that the safety actions taken by Alstom will reduce the risk of this safety issue.

Proactive action
Action number
Alstom Australia Limited
Action date
Action Status
Action description

Software validation

Alstom advised the following safety actions had been taken and were applicable to the global X05 fleet:

  • Alstom advised that in consultation with Adetel additional validation testing will be conducted for future releases of the auxiliary converter software. Regression testing will be conducted to validate the temperature charging curve and current parameters are correct and unaffected by the change.
  • Additional regression testing will be undertaken by Alstom engineering at the auxiliary converter level during software acceptance testing.
  • The software update procedure for the auxiliary converter has been revised to include an additional step to check and validate the temperature charging curve is correct following software updates.

Fault monitoring

Immediately following the occurrence, Alstom made changes to the remote monitoring system to generate an automatic alert if a battery over temperature fault was detected. Automatic alerts are sent to the engineering and maintenance personnel for actioning.

Alstom also advised that in June 2020, two new fault codes were created within the TCMS to monitor the battery temperature and charging current on the SLR fleet. The faults were designed to detect and escalate the response depending on the fault severity.

The first fault code (IOS-52-2) monitored the charging current and generated an alert if the charging current exceeded 3 A for more than 5 minutes during float charging. The driver was alerted with a message on the DDU that there is a fault with the 24 V battery charging and to complete their journey.

The second fault code (IOS-52-3) monitored two parameters and isolated the battery charger if:

  • float charging current exceeded 10 A for more than 5 minutes, or
  • battery temperature exceeded 45 °C and the charging voltage was more than 29 V.

The DDU displayed the fault to the driver and the LRV must return to the depot.

Monitoring of the newly introduced fault codes found that they functioned although there were some spurious fault detections which did not alert the driver. Further review of battery temperature data from LRV 053 and the X05 fleet was used to refine the fault monitoring criteria.

In October 2020 a new release of the TCMS software contained revisions to improve battery temperature monitoring. Monitoring the charging current was removed and fault code IOS 52-3 was deleted. Fault code IOS-52-2 now monitors the following criteria and generates and alert if:

  • battery temperature exceeds 45 °C and the charging voltage is more than 29 V, or
  • battery temperature sensor is defective (open or short circuit), or
  • battery temperature is over 55 °C for more than 2 hours, or
  • battery temperature is over 55 °C for more than 2 minutes on four occasion in a day.

If any of the above are detected, the driver is alerted with a message on the DDU that there is a fault with the 24 V battery charging and to return to the depot.

ATSB Response

The ATSB notes that the changes to the software validation and introduction of an additional fault code within the TCMS would likely prevent recurrence.