Last week, Sydney  hosted an event that – although pale in comparison with Brisbane’s G20 Summit – may well have gone down the annals of Railway Signalling history in Australia, as the world’s first seminar exclusively centred on Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) technology.

Proprietary CBTC systems have been around for some time, mostly supporting high density mass transit applications in the world’s most populated cities. However, no CBTC system has yet ever been deployed in Australia. For the last 50 years, this Continent’s sprawling metropolises have centred its main transport strategy around that icon of the Australian lifestyle: the privately owned car.

However, as the population of Australian capitals grows larger, it has reached the critical mass where there are simply too many cars in everyone’s way. Investment in public transport in Australia is on a rising trend to cope with traffic congestion, and the latest versions of the technologies that have proved successful overseas are bound to be implemented here.

In particular, three major CBTC implementation projects are already under different planning stages in three Australian state capitals: the new North West Rail Link in Sydney, the Dandenong Line upgrade in Melbourne, and the Joondalup-Mandurah Lines in Perth. CBTC, therefore, is definitely coming to Australia.

Given the lack of previous Australia-grown experience in CBTC systems, it is obvious that the industry needs to gain the skills necessary to design, install, maintain and operate this kind of technology. The CBTC KickStarter seminar is a first step to palliate this knowledge deficit, by offering rail industry professionals a first approach to CBTC technology.

CBTC KickStarter has been set up by Dr Frank Heibel, one of Australia’s better known railway signalling and Automatic Train Control consultants. He configured a team of presenters that described the different features and components of CBTC systems in a clear and accessible language, with the declared goal of ensuring that the audience understood everything that is covered during the seminar.

And, since Communications technologies are clearly central to Communications-Based Train Control, Dr Heibel enlisted Rodrigo Alvarez, Titan’s own railway communications technology expert, to join his team of presenters in order to provide a deeper coverage of the critical communications component of CBTC systems, thus ensuring that seminar attendees could gain a sufficient understanding of critical communication interfaces that are too often overlooked in other signalling-centred training packages.

CBTC KickStarter seminars for Melbourne, Perth and London are currently under preparation and are expected to take place in the first half of 2015.

Further information and registration can be obtained by contacting Frank Heibel.