A week after Sydney’s train network shut down at peak afternoon hours, NSW transport authorities were warned a year ago that the train’s communication components were outdated and could fail.
A classified report by Transport for NSW warned that the train’s digital radio system components were outdated and fixing the problem was a priority.
The Sydney Rail Network’s digital radio system that controls communications between trains and the Rail Operations Center Failed last Wednesday at 2:45 PMThousands of passengers have been stranded for over an hour, causing significant delays.
Sydney Trains said it has confirmed in 2021 that parts of its Digital Train Radio System (DTRS) will become “obsolete” over the next five years.
Plans were being made for a broader technological upgrade of the train’s radio system based on the 5G spectrum, relying on the old system until changes were made.
“DTRS has been operating reliably across Sydney’s rail network since 2016 and the system is being upgraded on a regular basis,” said a Sydney Trains spokesperson.
“Transport for NSW and Sydney Trains are collaborating on plans for an extensive technical upgrade of the train radio system while maintaining the reliable operation of the current system.”
Despite ongoing labor disputes, severe weather and battling the impact of COVID-19, Sydney Trains said it is prioritizing an extensive maintenance program across its network.
About $1.4 billion will be spent on maintenance this year, and $800 million has already been spent.
Joe Halen, a transport spokeswoman for the Department of Labor, said Sydney Train’s latest maintenance backlog for 2021-22 is $670 million.
“Passengers just want safe and reliable public transport,” she said.
Prime Minister Dominique Perrotet called the blackout a “strange incident”.
“These incidents happen sometimes, they do,” he said.
“Transport did everything they could to get us back up and running as quickly as possible, and we were done in just over an hour.”
The breakdown had ripple effects throughout the city’s transportation system as 250,000 commuters were stranded trying to get home, buses quickly filled up, and chaos continued.
All trains in Sydney stopped for 90 minutes, waiting for instructions before all were lifted just after 4pm.
Train drivers will reportedly get analog portable radios as backups in case communications are temporarily cut again.
A spokeswoman for Sydney Railways said analogue radio is an approved alternative communications platform within the organization’s network rules.
“It’s not uncommon for analog radios to be used as an additional backup option,” she said.
An internal investigation into the system failure is ongoing.
https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/sydney/2023/03/14/sydney-trains-comms-obsolete/ Sydney’s train communication system is outdated