Five New Year’s resolutions for the signalling industry

Having made our predictions about what might happen in 2015, it’s time to look at what we think the signalling industry should consider for the next year, in a traditional set of New Year’s resolutions. Here’s our top five:

  1. Look beyond European Rail Traffic Management System, Positive Train Control et al for development. Yes, standardisation and interoperability are vital, but restricting developments to these areas risks standardising thinking. Technology is always developing – how can it best be applied to signalling?
  2. Complete development of European Train Control System Level 3. It’s been discussed for years, it’s been trialled, yet deployment on a main line hasn’t happened. Moving block main line signalling will be a real game changer – so, as an industry, let’s resolve to bring the technology to deployable maturity.
  3. Integrate signalling and train control with other systems. The information provided by modern train control systems could be integrated with ticketing and passenger information systems much more effectively. If a train is running very late, why can’t passengers with advance tickets be alerted and, if there’s space on another more convenient train, be allowed to travel on it? The possibilities are vast, and this data integration could be another game changer.
  4. Reduce the barriers to entry of modern signalling technology. Signalling is a complex and safety critical area, but there are hundreds of thousands of kilometres of railway around the world which could benefit from the capacity and safety improvements modern systems can provide. The first company to significantly cut the costs of design, installation and maintenance of such technology will reap the rewards.
  5. Above all, continue to maintain the focus on safety. Rail’s safety record is, generally speaking, excellent, and much of that is down to the dedication, ability and effort of signalling designers, installers and operators. Let’s aim to make 2015 an even better year for rail safety than 2014.

Those are the areas we think the railway should focus on this year, but what do you think? Let us know via the comments form. And on behalf of everyone involved in, we wish all of our readers a happy and prosperous 2015.

One thought on “Five New Year’s resolutions for the signalling industry

  1. Regarding Item 4, a number of years ago (quite a few in fact) I was involved with the introduction of a “shrink-wrapped” CTC control office. Everyone was interested in it as they could see that the cost would be reduced due to volume sales but, everyone said, “this is nice but, can you change this or add that because that is the way we do it on my railroad.”
    When every railroad requires a custom product, the costs go up as do the entry barriers as you must have intimate knowledge of rail operations in order to safely customize a product to meet specific requirements.

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