Rail collision detection device gains ground

7 January 2016

Sydney trains

Sydney Trains has begun a series of trials to test a new NSW-designed device that could prevent costly and lengthy delays and improve the reliability of the rail system.

Thanks to a grant from Innovate NSW the Sydney-based company Australian Rail Technology, developed the device – known as the Pantograph Collision Detection System (PCDS) to assist in quickly finding and responding to faults in the pantograph or overhead wiring system of trains.

Detecting faults

The pantograph is mounted on the roof of an electric train or tram to collect power through an overhead wire.

However, from time to time, faults in the overhead wiring can cause the wiring to become entangled with the pantograph – potentially shutting down the line for many hours while the problem is detected and repaired. This scenario also means passengers can be trapped in the train because of concerns about exposed live wires.

The solar-powered device detects excessive vibrations that could indicate an upcoming issue - potentially allowing the train driver to lower the pantograph or to trigger maintenance checks on the overhead wiring.

Loads of potential

This local innovation offers enormous potential for Sydney Trains and the travelling public.

With one million customers using Sydney Trains each weekday and 287 million journeys per year on the network, the potential for this small device to offer early detection of faults - which could save time, money and inconvenience - is very encouraging.

Supporting local industries

Through Innovate NSW the NSW Government supports innovation in the NSW economy by connecting technology-SMEs with businesses in key sectors to develop globally competitive solutions that address compelling needs. More than $6.5 million was allocated to the program for four years from 2012-2016.

To date, Innovate NSW has supported more than 190 technology development SMEs to create valuable intellectual property, high-value jobs, and digital economy capabilities.

The companies that have completed projects through Innovate NSW have potential to generate approximately $210 million in sales, $179 million in export sales, and 800 jobs for NSW in the next three years.

Watch an animation of the PCDS in action.

Find out more

For further information on Innovate NSW please contact innovate.nsw@industry.nsw.gov.au or (02) 9338 6792