Farah Salem

UPS for Rail Signal Network

Project Manager — Substations, Metro Trains Melbourne; BE (Electrical), RMIT University

Farah Salem, Project Manager of Substations at Metro Trains Melbourne, has engineered an innovative solution for lifting the performance of the city’s railway signalling system.

A customised uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides critical power backup during network signalling faults, giving the electrical control centre a window in which to route alternative feeds without disruption.

The Metro Trains Melbourne UPS is a rail industry world first. It integrates a legacy phase-reliant signalling network with industrial-scale continuous power supply technology.

A great example of thinking outside the box and making a sustainable contribution to the prosperity of the city

Salem stepped up to the challenge of designing, testing and implementing the new UPS.

Signalling reliability was the most influential factor affecting the operational performance of the railway.

Engineering a UPS for the legacy signalling network, though challenging, would mitigate a class of incidents resulting in signal loss, potentially blown fuses and damaged computer cards that would require the attendance of specialist crews.

Salem, working with both local and overseas experts in the field, developed a set of operating protocols that safeguarded the UPS from wrong-side failures. He decided to implement the new technology in the inner-city area of the network. Even though it was more demanding in terms of testing and implementation, it would reap the biggest rewards, because signal failures in the inner city can affect multiple lines.

The project scope also broadened, making UPS part of Metro’s Essential Services Power Distribution Network.

The performance of the UPS has surpassed expectations.

Under the MR3 contract, network delays were converted to passenger weighted minutes, while under the new MR4 contract, the concept of passenger weighted minutes was replaced by a comprehensive system of credits.

The UPS has continued to have a positive impact and is a great example of thinking outside the box and making a sustainable contribution to the prosperity of the city.

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