'... But realistically today, we simple cheap technology available, we shouldn't be reliant on a person to visually see a train ahead and at the higher speed on track ie 80 - 120 km/h with poorer visibility and thousands of tonnes on your tail this only gets you so far anyway. ...'
I beg to differ. Nothing is simple in rail anymore (at least the way things are done here in Oz anyway). Radar would need to overcome/identify/facilitate:
End result would replicate some of the recent US Navy collisions at sea. Don't look around - just watch the screen! Bit like Victorian roads - don't drive to conditions just watch the speedo.
- Adjacent road traffic
- Tin sheds
- Stabled trains/rolling stock
- Opposing trains on double lines
- On board equipment including aerials, power supplies, screens and interpretation thereof
' ... Same technology would have likely prevented Wallan, CTT Crash Mk 1 etc. All of which had a 2nd person to provide a so called higher level of safety, but didn't. ...'
I don't see how. Such technology would, presumably, record who said what and/or did what in the lead up to the incident for posterity but I cannot see how technology of the type being discussed would have prevented Wallan, or done other than perhaps apportion blame for the derailment after the event.
Bear in mind that the foregoing is all in the context of on board radar to 'see' what the eye cannot and record actions prior to the incident. It does not drive the train or undertake the safeworking.
You've taken my reply out of the context it was intended. I never said replace the driver looking, but rather as a back door safety system supervising.
It is a bit mind boggling that today, we are solely reliant on the driver visual reference to prevent a collision or incidents like Wallan. ie $10-20m of trains and its contents totally reliant on one person's visual observation of the conditions ahead to ensure "no paint is lost". If we think this is the only pathway to the future, this is the pathway to obscurity.
So what to do?
An ipad has access to GPS, even Google Maps often has a fairly accurate layout of the tracks, but realistically you'd have the track diagrams overlaid in Google Maps or similar. Now the ipad knows exactly where the train is, direction, speed of the track, upcoming speed reductions, location of points etc. TSR's etc can easily be uploaded via mobile network and in remote locations via wifi from a CTC single box which are connected to the central network. direction through points can also be uploaded live prior to arriving at the points and provide advanced notice to driver of direction and speed.
In lieu of areas where there is no mobile phone coverage, connection via satellite is a simple although requires additional equipment to be installed on each loco, but even STARLINK costs just $400 installed on a house.
With a mostly continuous connection to control the same system also know where other trains are and can provide a mobile buffer.
So with all this information easily available the ipad can oversee the driver's control. Should the driver breach a reduction in speed requirement for what ever reason, corner, TSR, traffic ahead etc with no action, it can first warn the driver then if still no action apply the brakes. The system does not operate the train in any other way and could world in areas outside the current CTC regions. No it won't protect against a breakaway, but should the train in front stop then the driver can indicate this and therefore increase the safety buffer.
In the case of Wallan (and yes I find the need to have a pilot as out dated as the steam engine, but its a requirement of the dated safe working), control would have changed the points as they did, the change in approach speed then appears on the "ipad" along with any other changes for that section of track. Should the driver fail to reduce speed at the nominal braking location, first a warning, then if no action brakes are applied. Ideally before the need for the train to go into full Emergency.
The same ipad can also maintain last few hours in cam CCTV to be accessed incase of an incident and if required.
Anyway, just my thoughts and I believe something similar was tested in Mumbai 10 years ago on the suburban system.