New world-class train signalling technology to deliver significant benefits for SEQ

Queensland trains are now being fitted out with new world-class signalling technology as part of the transformational Cross River Rail project, which will significantly improve safety and efficiency.

Two trains are currently at a specialised facility at Redbank to be fitted with new onboard European Train Control System (ETCS) technology, with more to follow.

The start of fitment marks a significant milestone for Cross River Rail and South East Queensland’s public transport network.

The new world-class signalling system will enable increased capacity on the rail network, improve reliability, enhance safety and allow the wider network to run more efficiently.

New hi-tech equipment is being fitted to the trains, including axle sensors to detect speed and two new touchscreens added to the drivers’ cabin, while signalling equipment is being installed on the Shorncliffe line, where the new technology is being testing on trains while not in service.

When they’re up and running, the trains will essentially be talking constantly to Queensland Rail’s Rail Management Centre via a radio system, trackside technology and onboard equipment, allowing the train’s exact position, direction and speed to be known at all times.

It will mean trains can safely be scheduled to travel closer together and train schedules can be updated automatically, which means more accurate and timely information for customers.

Workers at Redbank will upgrade 64 Queensland Rail trains over the next two years, and by the end of the year four trains can be upgraded at once.

There are currently 12 workers fitting out the trains on site, with up to 30 planned by the end of the year.

All up, about 200 workers across South East Queensland are bringing ETCS technology to our rail network, while the new technology will support new and ongoing technical jobs at Queensland Rail.

This world-class technology is yet another example of the benefits the transformational Cross River Rail project will not only create when it opens, but is delivering for our economy right now, when it’s needed the most.

ETCS is used on rail networks around the world, including in France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, India and China.

It will be operational in South East Queensland ahead of Cross River Rail’s opening in 2025.

Diagram showing how the new signalling technology works between the tracks, trains, and control centre

ETCS fast facts:

  • The European Train Control System (ETCS) will deliver a range of benefits for the inner-city rail network, including an increase in safety, capacity, efficiency and reliability;
  • The ETCS project involves delivery and integration of new trackside equipment, data radio systems and a rail traffic management system, as well as onboard train equipment;
  • ETCS is necessary for the safe operation of Cross River Rail’s twin tunnels but will benefit the wider rail network;
  • Two trains are at Redbank to be fitted out with ETCS technology;
  • By the end of the year, four trains at a time can be upgraded using the four rail roads available at the facility;
  • 64 trains will be upgraded with ETCS equipment over the next two years;
  • Once testing of the first train is complete at Redbank in coming months, dynamic testing using non-revenue trains will commence on the Shorncliffe line by the end of the year;
  • Hitachi Rail, Queensland Rail and the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority are working together closely to deliver ETCS.