Advanced Train Management System (ATMS)

 
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
I can't see ATMS having any marked improvement over any line I can think of in NSW - except Goobang Jct to Broken Hill ....
...
Now to the NSW North Coast railway , it copes sort of ok because the loops aren't all that far apart so the crossing opportunities are increased . The issues there are loop lengths and XPTs sidelining up and down trains in loops not too far apart . Also the lack of mid section signalling wastes line capacity at times.
...
BDA
More later, but I think that's known as an "own goal".

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  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Hmmmm , is ATMS the railway edition of NBN ?
  landmark Station Staff

The bottom line is that CTC works and works well , and US railways have been using it for a long time with a lot of success .
BDA


CTC does work and works well at the moment, but even in the US it does have it's limitations hence some of the FRA mandates for change. Throughout the world rail companies of one form or another are looking to go beyond CTC. CTC replacements such as ETCS Level 3 in Europe, or Vital Positive Train Control in the USA are in the pipeline and CTC overlay systems such as ETCS level 2 in Europe, or the non-vital PTC solution that overlays CTC in the US are being implemented.

As technology advances, IMO there are oppurtunities to look for ways to improve and I think there is an appetite to change throughout the world which is demonstrated by the different types of systems being implmented. If not done correctly, or the implementation is flawed, then yes there are certainly oppurtunities for things to go wrong, and many of these have been pointed out in this forum and one would hope ARTC has considered these. When you look at the individual technology being proposed by ATMS, nothing is cutting edge or new, its just that it hasnt been used in this way in a rail application. The key is to apply the technology correctly and that is the biggest challenge and exactly why IMO ARTC is not rushing this. Reports like the report to the US congress on the progress of PTC implementation highlight some of the issues that can be faced. See http://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L03718


Whilst there are differing opinions on the capacity and cost benefits of  ATMS, I would be interested in the forums thoughts on some of the other potential benefits or disadvantages. Some of the advantages after reading a lot  of the documentation in detail are:

  • The ability to integrate temporary speed restrictions into the system and for them to be dynamically updated in the drivers display. This of course only works if the system is continuosly updated to reflect the state of TSRs.
  • The enforcement capability that would apply train brakes in the event of a predicted authority violations. I know this can be provided as an overlay system to current CTC, but it cant be a bad thing for a system to have if  implemented correctly.
  • The ability to precisely locate the train and also determine trains braking distance removes some of the conservatism required in conventional track circuited signalling systems due to the less precise position infomation. this would remove some of the timeouts for loops and approach locking.
  • The ability for the drivers display to show the location of track work sites (provided of course they have been entered into the system in the correct location), and then secondly to protect those worksite
  • The ability for authority information to be displayed direct to the driver in the cab removing the need to worry about things like signal sighting, fog, rain, vandalised signals etc

I know these benefits are ones which are not going to solve all the rail industries problems but they certainly can't be bad.
The Concept of Operations  document on the ATMS website also makes reference to some interesting possible future functionality. This includes, equipping track machines, hi-rails and individual track workers with ATMS devices that would treat them like a train and have the centralised system locate and protect them accordingly. Similalry, it looks like there is a proposed function to check that a level crossing is ready to operate (power etc) before allowing a train to be issued an authoritiy across it. I would be interested in others thoughts on possible enhancements to the ATMS system such as this.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller


Whilst there are differing opinions on the capacity and cost benefits of  ATMS, I would be interested in the forums thoughts on some of the other potential benefits or disadvantages.

I know these benefits are ones which are not going to solve all the rail industries problems but they certainly can't be bad. I would be interested in others thoughts on possible enhancements to the ATMS system such as this.
"landmark


I think all of these 'side benefits' are great, provided that they are treated as supplements for traditional methods rather than substitutes where appropriate, and provided the comms are reliable enough. Alas, not really game changers for sceptics like me.

For me, it would be better if we put $500 M towards making single lines double (and realignments). Obviously it would cost a whole lot more than that, but it would really increase line capacity. ATMS on a single line is going to be fairly useless at achieving one of its main purported objectives in many cases. ETCS3, moving block or equiv systems should wait until we have the track alignments right, not be slapped on to crowded colonial networks for a last ditch productivity squeeze. And no doubt we will be headed for a nice little cost blowout, as we always seem to be.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
  • The ability for the drivers display to show the location of track work sites (provided of course they have been entered into the system in the correct location), and then secondly to protect those worksite
landmark

Some specifics:

There have been a number of incidents in recent years where signals somewhat remote from a worksite were set to protect track workers, but due to oversight/confusion about the location of the work a train had already passed the signal and was heading towards the worksite when permission to start work was given.  Difficult to imaging the same mistake being made with ATMS - because permission to work is tied directly to the authorities issued for that section of track rather than the state of a coloured light ten kilometres previous.

There also have been a few (not many, but one in particular was notable) incidents in recent years where there have been accidents that most likely would have been prevented if there was enforcement of authority and trackspeed restrictions.  Drivers are human and we know that humans are fallible, yet the current system critically relies on them.  I don't think this is acceptable in this day and age.

No system ever will be perfect, but when considering future options remember that the current systems (note plural -- how many are there???) are similarly not perfect.

Those worried about what happens when comms drop out - the basic principle is that your train (and your train alone) will have an authority for a certain piece of track.  The absence of comms doesn't change that - what it changes is the ability of the system to extend your authority, and to roll-up your authority behind you.  When a bulb in a coloured light signal that is twenty kilometres away (so you can't even see it...) fails or that stick loses touch with the mother ship for some reason... what do you do now?

Track is expensive to build.  This expense is one of the big downsides of rail transport.  Line side signalling doesn't come for free either.  Anything you can do to get more effective capacity out of your existing track without having to spend big dollars helps.  No one is going to pay to re-align and/or duplicate large parts of Australia's interstate freight network, given much of it is barely utilised as-is.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
...
For me, it would be better if we put $500 M towards making single lines double (and realignments). Obviously it would cost a whole lot more than that, but it would really increase line capacity. ATMS on a single line is going to be fairly useless at achieving one of its main purported objectives in many cases. ETCS3, moving block or equiv systems should wait until we have the track alignments right, not be slapped on to crowded colonial networks for a last ditch productivity squeeze. And no doubt we will be headed for a nice little cost blowout, as we always seem to be.
HeadShunt
$500m times how much (dream on).

Here's $500m - you'll get a few kms of new track somewhere in country but make SFA difference in the scheme of things.

For the same money (if nothing else) ATMS should drive down trackside maintenance costs across the entire network - which are ongoing. It's about making it more sustainable. After all ARTC is meant to provide a commercial ROI and can only rely on it's own finances between any federal funding which may or may not eventuate.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller


There have been a number of incidents in recent years where signals somewhat remote from a worksite were set to protect track workers, but due to oversight/confusion about the location of the work a train had already passed the signal and was heading towards the worksite when permission to start work was given.
donttellmywife

One of the underlying factors here is the practice of allowing possession of a section to be taken while a train is still occupying it, but has supposedly been confirmed as having passed the location of the worksite. Obviously this practice is intended to save time, help get maintenance work done and possibly reduce delays to trains, because some sections are quite long, but clearly it is not without risk. If you ask me it really runs counter to the whole idea of absolute block working.


Difficult to imaging the same mistake being made with ATMS - because permission to work is tied directly to the authorities issued for that section of track rather than the state of a coloured light ten kilometres previous.
donttellmywife

Improved protection for worksites is definitely a plus, provided it is actually used (as opposed to being dismissed during implementation of the system as too expensive) and used appropriately (ie in a way that really will prevent worksite incursion for all methods of working on the line).

If the worksite supervisors etc could carry their own GPS device that confirmed their location, that could help mitigate the consequences of misunderstandings regarding location (here I can see whinging, whining and lobbying against the possible cost for profit driven infrastructure maintenance contractors who are bound to argue that the current methods are still good enough). Additional software based processes for Controllers and worksites would also be useful (computer asking questions and double/cross checking etc).

If the "you know what hit the fan", maybe a portable device could be used to stop trains approaching its location. Unless things like that happen, it might be that the only real extra protection would be against overruns of authority into worksites, which is not going to prevent disaster if the worksite is not where the Controller thinks it is.

Also, in case something goes wrong, I would hope that detonators and red flags etc would still be used for track possessions.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Wonder how anyone copes with traffic lights - should you really trust that green light Rolling Eyes

ATMS simply moves the light on a stick onto an in-cab screen but with a lot more guidance. Still don't know how all those planes manage to fly and land at night relying on instruments  Rolling Eyes
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
What if this, what if that... Rolling Eyes

Has anyone actually read the design specifications. Idea
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

What if this, what if that... Rolling Eyes

Has anyone actually read the design specifications. Idea
cootanee
Somehow I don't think the design specs shed much light on the politics associated with this project that could impact on whether or not the whole thing is ever implemented.

The system has yet to come into use and until it does, the potential features and possibilities exist in a world of theory only.

There is nothing to say that all of the features ever will be fully implemented, nor that the system will be fully rolled out and I don't think there is anything wrong with a bit of scepticism in that department.

As I said above, I think the potential side and safety benefits are great, but this is Australia in 2013, after all. It's not exactly one of the great "can do" societies anymore when it comes to rail. Furthermore, the issues associated with increasing the capacity of single lines are difficult to surmount. Short of running trains in one direction only for half the day then switching, I still can't see that much of a benefit for single lines... If that leaves the main benefit as a cost saving, $500 million is quite a lot to spend to realise it.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Wonder how anyone copes with traffic lights - should you really trust that green light Rolling Eyes

ATMS simply moves the light on a stick onto an in-cab screen but with a lot more guidance. Still don't know how all those planes manage to fly and land at night relying on instruments  Rolling Eyes
cootanee
Your supposed to approach any intersection  with due caution, green light or not actually per the Australian road rules.

As for green lights for the rails, I have seen green lights go back in my face, I have been wrong roaded and the green lights are in the wrong place to allow adequate stopping distance in case of a red around the corner. I treat all greens with a level of mistrust they deserve.

Haven't had a SPAD or car crash yet, so must be doing something right.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Your supposed to approach any intersection  with due caution, green light or not actually per the Australian road rules.

As for green lights for the rails, I have seen green lights go back in my face, I have been wrong roaded and the green lights are in the wrong place to allow adequate stopping distance in case of a red around the corner. I treat all greens with a level of mistrust they deserve.

Haven't had a SPAD or car crash yet, so must be doing something right.
"seb2351"


mmm... I suppose you get there eventually.

ATMS will provide a bit more info than a light on a stick so less second guessing. The system can even warn that you're heading for a SPAD.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Also the lack of mid section signalling wastes line capacity at times.
donttellmywife

The NSW North Coast has several intermediate block signals ; some are where there were previously divisible staffs ; some have since been removed.

An advantage of ATMS is that could can have as many de facto intermediate block signals as you like, as the cost of each IBS is low.

IBS are most useful when and where trains overtake, which is probably only a small percentage of crosses.

Note that new Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes also speed up crosses, as trains can approach safely at higher speeds.

At crosses at most NC loops, trains get a Caution (Y) at the distant, and then a Low Speed (R + r +g) at the home. Originally the low speed small g was approach cleared by a 200m long track circuit ; this has been improved to a always cleared small g light, so long as the main R light is proved to be lit.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

At crosses at most NC loops, trains get a Caution (Y) at the distant, and then a Low Speed (R + r +g) at the home. Originally the low speed small g was approach cleared by a 200m long track circuit ; this has been improved to a always cleared small g light, so long as the main R light is proved to be lit.
awsgc24
Is it still sequential reception at these crossing loops (in the sense of it only being possible to clear the inner home signal for one direction at a time)?
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
...
As for green lights for the rails, I have seen green lights go back in my face, I have been wrong roaded and the green lights are in the wrong place to allow adequate stopping distance in case of a red around the corner. I treat all greens with a level of mistrust they deserve.
...
seb2351

There is another aspect dealt with by ATMS (assuming implementation) here - the view in the cab is not just of the next signal - it is of the next 10 km or so of track.  The view includes line speed and turn out indications (or the equivalent).  Perhaps some of the drivers could comment about the usefulness of having that sort of look ahead information about the track ahead in front of them.
  seb2351 Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
There is another aspect dealt with by ATMS (assuming implementation) here - the view in the cab is not just of the next signal - it is of the next 10 km or so of track.  The view includes line speed and turn out indications (or the equivalent).  Perhaps some of the drivers could comment about the usefulness of having that sort of look ahead information about the track ahead in front of them.
donttellmywife
Where I work,I would love to have forward warning of signal indications. Means I don't have to slow down and waste time/fuel.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

The NSW North Coast has several intermediate block signals ; some are where there were previously divisible staffs ; some have since been removed.

An advantage of ATMS is that could can have as many de facto intermediate block signals as you like, as the cost of each IBS is low.

IBS are most useful when and where trains overtake, which is probably only a small percentage of crosses.

Note that new Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brakes also speed up crosses, as trains can approach safely at higher speeds.

At crosses at most NC loops, trains get a Caution (Y) at the distant, and then a Low Speed (R + r +g) at the home. Originally the low speed small g was approach cleared by a 200m long track circuit ; this has been improved to a always cleared small g light, so long as the main R light is proved to be lit.
awsgc24

ARTC's apparent specified minimum overlap of only 300 metres on lines with two aspect signals, heavy freight and no AWS or ATP seems to be driven by a desire for crews to live on the edge.

It is not as if we are talking about a UK mainline with nimble passenger trains and AWS, it's the opposite. I would have thought the absolute minimum under those conditions would have been a quarter mile, which might still not be enough (depending what sort of overrun is being mitigated against).

It looks like margins are already being shaved.

I guess that probably is a good reason to roll out ATMS.
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
There is another aspect dealt with by ATMS (assuming implementation) here - the view in the cab is not just of the next signal - it is of the next 10 km or so of track.  The view includes line speed and turn out indications (or the equivalent).  Perhaps some of the drivers could comment about the usefulness of having that sort of look ahead information about the track ahead in front of them.
donttellmywife

The driver display images certainly show a lot of info that current signalling doesn't including track profile, speed graphs with warning of overspeed and braking curves. It also actively warns of and enforces authority limits. Remember most of what is currently in use are passive control systems.

If rail freight picks up there will be greater need for fleeting and ATMS will help there. However for ARTC which is meant to be a profit oriented company, lineside maintenance costs will continue to be a drag on the bottom line and ATMS should drive that down over time.
  donttellmywife Chief Commissioner

Location: Antofagasta
If rail freight picks up there will be greater need for fleeting and ATMS will help there. However for ARTC which is meant to be a profit oriented company, lineside maintenance costs will continue to be a drag on the bottom line and ATMS should drive that down over time.
cootanee
If ARTC was a charity set up for the benefit of the rail freight industry, lineside maintenance costs would continue to be a drag on the bottom line and ATMS should drive that down over time.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Is it still sequential reception at these crossing loops (in the sense of it only being possible to clear the inner home signal for one direction at a time)?
HeadShunt

By "sequential reception" it is assumed that "non-simultaneous arrivals" is meant.

NSW had in general never had simultaneous arrivals, as there is no overlap.

WA did have SA until at least the Hines Hill collision, even though there is no overlap.

ARTC is now building loops with a nominal 300m overlap, which, AFAIK, allows for "simultaneous arrivals" aka "non-sequential reception".

The nominal 300m overlap is roughly equal to the 400m/400yards/quarter-mile overlap for British BR 3 aspect signals.

BR have AFAIK, a slightly shorter overlap of about 200m for 4 aspect signals.

NSW generally has full length overlaps at line speeds for the worst braking freight trains which might exceed 1000m.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

ARTC is now building loops with a nominal 300m overlap, which, AFAIK, allows for "simultaneous arrivals" aka "non-sequential reception".
awsgc24
That was the impression I got after reading the report into the SPAD at Gunnedah on 7 March 2012. Although the overlap there was about 550 m from the signal that was overrun to the points that had been reversed for a conflicting movement, the report mentioned that it exceeded the modern standard of only 300 m, which surprised me at first, but maybe it shouldn't have. Apparently the standard had been 500 m but it was reduced after a review of SPADs showed that most overruns were less than 300 m.

It does seem like 300 m could allow for simultaneous reception at crossing loops, and by NSW standards it's certainly on the short side for a single line with 2 aspect signals, heavy freight and no AWS/ATP to reduce the risk of SPADs.

The nominal 300m overlap is roughly equal to the 400m/400yards/quarter-mile overlap for British BR 3 aspect signals.

BR have AFAIK, a slightly shorter overlap of about 200m for 4 aspect signals.

NSW generally has full length overlaps at line speeds for the worst braking freight trains which might exceed 1000m.
awsgc24
I think the BR standards established in 1972 for doubles lines signalled to passenger standards on level ground were:

2 position semaphore 440 yd (400 m) - obviously a much older standard dating back to the 19th century
2/3 aspect colourlight 300 yd (274 m)
4 aspect colourlight 200 yd (183 m)

In Railtrack plc's GK/RT0064 dated December 2000 it looks like overspeed sensors of TPWS had been factored in, with the standard reduced to a flat 180 m for all installations with colourlight signals exhibiting cautionary aspects (even if the final 'danger' was on a semaphore) and remains at 400 m for full semaphore setups.

Goods lines in some cases had no overlaps at all (double lines).


So, the new ARTC standard does "sort of" comply with the old BR standard for 2 aspect signals on double lines (sort of because there is no TPWS OSS etc...), although it may not be good enough for single lines. I guess I have become accustomed to massive non-TPWS overlaps in NSW... oh well, there goes my pro ATMS argument lol.
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Hmmmm , is ATMS the railway edition of NBN ?
BDA


Either that or it's the Australian version of the US Positive Train Control debacle.


ATMS could be superior to PTC if successful, since it sounds like a lot of PTC will be an extension of continuous ATP overlaid on existing signalling rather than a moving block system, although I'm sure that could change. There are definitely huge similarities in terms of using wireless communication and GPS, but not in price, since PTC is on a much larger scale over many railroads. One concern is that the system could reduce line capacity owing to limitations in accurate speed-braking calculations that enforce premature braking - I'm not sure whether that is legitimate, a product of entrenched unsafe practices or unrealistic expectations.

At an estimated total cost to the industry of more than $12 billion for a benefit over 20 years of $0-674 million, PTC has been labelled by the CEO of Union Pacific as a "terrible waste of money", a sentiment shared by many. In what some described as a knee jerk reaction to the Chatsworth accident in 2008, the Bush Administration legislated for full implementation on about 65,000 miles of track by 15 December 2015. This may now be extended until at least 31 December 2018.

President of AAR, Edward R. Hamberger said, "it’s simply impossible to safely install a reliable, fully interoperable PTC system everywhere it is required by the 2015 deadline. There may be segments of track across the country that will be PTC operable by the 2015 deadline, but completely implementing PTC on the more than 60,000 route miles required by the mandate is still not possible by 2015.”
  cootanee Chief Commissioner

Location: North of the border!
Technology wise ATMS is almost the equivalent of a $150 Sat Nav box combined with active cruise control. Pretty common stuff in 2013 for road transport Shocked
  BDA Chief Commissioner

Location: Sydney
Yes but thats ok for a "technology" viewpoint but not from a hardware point of view . There is a reason why mill spec hardware costs more than consumer level gear yet the technology level can be similar .

The trouble is that all this ATMS and like technology does nothing for train performance when the alignments and grades are steam age level .
Having more trains closer to the lowest common denominator , the slowest train in the pack , doesn't really get the hangers on any closer to their destinations faster . The followers will at best travel at the same speed  until the leader can go faster or they can get past the slow train . Agreed it will allow more trains into the grid lock but they can only go as fast as the curve speeds and grades allow and for the given Hp/tonne ratios .

Like so many things before it ATMS cannot fix the problems that have been there for a long long time  .  We started out with token working and that was replaced by systems like block telegraph or CTC and that was itself replaced by track circuited automatic signalling . So we can have more trains and closer together but if we reach the stage where drivers can be in sight of the train ahead much of the time you still can't do any better than matching the lead trains actual speed . Its the individual trains performance that calls the shots and the critical factors become curve speeds and balance speeds on grades .

This is as always coming back to money and the fact that the Governments know the worst case scenerio , most expensive one anyway , is to bite the bullet and actually regrade and realign stone aged alignments that are totally unsuitable for todays traffic requirements .
Consider this . Assume we still had the old single line between Goulburn and Cootamundra and consider what potential ATMS would have given todays traffic levels . Not going to have any chance of coping and even if that alignment was doubled the slow trains are only going to be slower .
The Southern line was doubled to increase capacity and the grades reduced to allow the trains of the day to pull acceptable loads . Todays trains are a lot longer and heavier than the double alignment was intended for but to be fair motive power has come ahead a long way too .

I suspect systems like ATMS are another way of avoiding the real issue which is going to the source of the problem and fixing it properly .
Lets just say we sink lots of money into these moving block systems and they alow more trains in fleets to be closer together . When that doesn't have a profound affect on the corridors capacity where do you go from there ?
Probaby good to look at a working example of a system where many trains are long and heavy but a few are very short and light and have priority , yep the Hunter Valley . ATMS was always going to do SFA for a DMU following a 10,000T coal train if it couldn't get past it . ATMS is also going to do SFA for a 10,000T coal train held at a junction so the DMU can have the clear run . The logical answer is to build more loops and passing lanes in places where heavy trains will be slow ie I think Minimbar .
Physical improvements like high speed junctions pay off better than ATMS does because you are removing the physical choke points that virtual signalling cannot . Yes it costs good money and no cheaper "Matrix" solutions don't always cut it in the real world .

Something I keep dragging some of you back to is what the opposition runs on infrastructure wise . Again look at the old south road and the current Hume Highway , the newer one works far better because it fixed the alignment and capacity issues and added passing opportunities where heavy vehicles are slow - and that didn't involve the grab the opposite side lark stopping all traffic in that direction .
Its cost lots of money but its largely fixed most of the issues the old south road had .
Using ATMS on the main southern line CANNOT do what a similar approach to road infrastructure can .

If the pollies , through ARTC etc , and the system providers of ATMS can buy time playing XBox games then its someone elses problem or time in Government office to come up with the billions to do it properly isn't it .

Also some of you think I keep an army of "REDS" chained under my bed to use as ammo for my assumed political leanings .
What I do think it this . Some of the billions blown by the last couple of Federal Governments could easily have been spent on making the east coast arterial railways far better than they are today . The minority they pleased won't save them and there isn't much they can really say they achieved for the generations to come . Better land transport and the multitude of potential benefits could have been some but nope their leftward leanings and their hopes of an EU type nucleus over here squashed all that .

Bottom line ? Build us a couple of bypasses if theres any money to spend and forget about the pixillated signals on wheels ...
  HeadShunt Chief Train Controller

Yes but thats ok for a "technology" viewpoint but not from a hardware point of view . There is a reason why mill spec hardware costs more than consumer level gear yet the technology level can be similar .
BDA
I agree. It doesn't really mean anything to say that the basic technology is like a $150 satnav box when getting it working safely and reliably is going to involve a lot of effort, expensive equipment and technology working in the background.




The trouble is that all this ATMS and like technology does nothing for train performance when the alignments and grades are steam age level . This is as always coming back to money and the fact that the Governments know the worst case scenerio , most expensive one anyway , is to bite the bullet and actually regrade and realign stone aged alignments that are totally unsuitable for todays traffic requirements . I suspect systems like ATMS are another way of avoiding the real issue which is going to the source of the problem and fixing it properly . Lets just say we sink lots of money into these moving block systems and they alow more trains in fleets to be closer together . When that doesn't have a profound affect on the corridors capacity where do you go from there ?
BDA
It's almost as if they are just blowing what little money they do have on ATMS because the prospects of doing what really needs to be done - new double line alignments to modern standards - are so low.

I had to laugh yesterday when I read that in early nineteenth century Britain single lines were not even considered to be proper railways by the Board of Trade due to their severe traffic limitations. Our views may have changed regarding the viability of single lines due to changing economics and much longer, heavier trains, but single lines still impose severe limitations compared to double, and as stated several times already, moving block is not going to help that an awful lot.




Probaby good to look at a working example of a system where many trains are long and heavy but a few are very short and light and have priority , yep the Hunter Valley . ATMS was always going to do SFA for a DMU following a 10,000T coal train if it couldn't get past it .
BDA
Yeah, but can't you see how beneficial it will be for the DMU to get sooooo much closer to the tail lamp of the freight train on the line ahead? Razz




Also some of you think I keep an army of "REDS" chained under my bed to use as ammo for my assumed political leanings . What I do think it this . Some of the billions blown by the last couple of Federal Governments could easily have been spent on making the east coast arterial railways far better than they are today . The minority they pleased won't save them and there isn't much they can really say they achieved for the generations to come . Better land transport and the multitude of potential benefits could have been some but nope their leftward leanings and their hopes of an EU type nucleus over here squashed all that .
BDA
The Government can get money for whatever it wants, and continues to prove that every time it squanders billions, as we have all seen numerous times. There are unfortunate reasons why that money rarely finds its way to major rail projects as discussed in other threads; its a sad situation and I can't see it changing any time soon, which means we are stuck with colonial alignments and Nintendo solutions to squeeze every last drop of productivity out of them.

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