ARTC trial new Advanced Train Management System in South Australia

ARTC, the manager of the national rail network, have begun shadow trials of their new Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) in conjunction with US global aerospace, defence, security an advanced technology company Lockheed Martin.

Now in Phase 3 the trials have seen the in-cab real-time signal information system utilised for testing between Port Augusta and Whyalla.

According to Lockheed Martin the system will help Australia secure greater rail capacity out of existing track, increasing the nation’s international competiveness. The benefits to Australian rail operators will be realised through the in-cab system providing real-time precise location of trains, which Lockheed Martin explain allow for ARTC to double or even triple in some cases the amount of freight traffic that can travel on the existing rail network.

Furthermore ATMS will lower ARTC’s operational and maintenance costs by eliminating certain trackside signalling and complex trackside infrastructure.

Assuming the trials go as planned ARTC is scheduling to rollout ATMS throughout Australia in 2017 with the Nullabor railway between Tarcoola in South Australia and Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie being the first to see its full implementation.

The switch to a digital in-cab system has been made possible by ARTC’s multi-million, ten year contract signed last month with Telstra to provide ongoing telecommunications to the national rail freight network.

The National Train Communications System (NTCS) will be powered by Telstra’s NextG Network and will be supported by 70 base stations specifically built to support ARTC’s 8,500km national rail freight network.

According to ARTC’s CEO John Fullerton “The Telstra-based NTCS will provide a platform for many of the new and exciting innovations being developed by ARTC. Using the Telstra NextG® network, applications such as safe travelling distance technology (proximity alerting), real-time locomotive tracking, sophisticated track and wayside monitoring technology, situational awareness systems and the next generation of train management – the Advanced Train Management System (ATMS) – all become possible.”