The Problem:

“Imagine the scenario. Its peak time on a Friday evening and the signalling system has failed. On the signalling floor, the displays are blank and signallers are trying to piece together the limited information they have. Train drivers are calling in for information and Control are battling to develop a recovery plan whilst maintenance and operations staff fight the rush hour traffic to get to the scene. With no repair forecast, nothing is moving and passenges are beginning to show their frustration”.

Train detection, power and control system failures place huge pressures on staff and cause havoc to railway operations resulting in 2.5 million delay minutes and costing more than £80 million in costs per year. When a failure to the railway signalling system occurs, it takes an average of two hours to set up a safe method of controlling trains with the process of manually securing points, taking up the largest proportion of that time.

For this reason, Network Rail has been developing a Combined Positioning Alternative Signalling System (COMPASS), to provide signallers with an alternative train control system when the primary system fails. The idea is to provide an accurate, ‘tactical picture’ of train positioning along with the ability to control signalling infrastructure at the touch of a button.  This supports Network Rail’s vison of the future of train regulation where technology and innovation (two of Satsafe’s conerstones) are utlilised to improve safety and performance of the railway.

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