Automatic Train Protection

After five years WESTECT goes live and it is time for me to go back and do some more study!

WESTECT, produced by Westinghouse Rail System Australia, is one of the first continuous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems in the world.  Designed in conjunction with and for Queensland Rail for their main coastal route.  ATP systems in general monitor train movements and speed and will cut power and/or apply brake to ensure that the train does not violate current and future speed restriction or exceed Limits Of Authority (red lights etc.).  The continuous part of WESTECT means that the on-board part of the system is continuously updated as to the state of upcoming signals allowing it to react immediately to signal changes.

I have been involved with WESTECT from the outset:

  • assisting with requirements capture using the Yourdon structured methodology.
  • Developing a “Driver’s Simulator” (using C on DOS) to prototype the system and find tune the driver’s interface.
  • Designing the overall architecture of the on-board sub-system.
  • Designing, implementing (using Ada) and unit testing two of the core on-board software modules.
  • Getting the Ada run time Board Support Package up and running on propriety hardware including the safety critical fail safe aspects (lots of assembler work).
  • Integration testing (getting all the on-board modules working on the proprietry hardware).
  • Overall debugging (getting the complete system working once it was installed on the rail network.

All development was done to the British Rail standards for Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 systems.

This was a fairly large project in a medium sized company and I was one of the original members of the project team.  I remained on the technical side of the project leading the on-board team (there was about 15 members in the team at its peak).

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