The issue of safety in the rail industry is on that we cover often on SmartRail World, particularly regarding the use of technology. State-of-the-art tech is being used in many of the areas that are most visible to passengers, such as ticketing, passenger information systems and accessibility, so it’s naturally also being leveraged to make journeys safer, too.
We’ve run stories in recent times on simulators being used to improve driver safety in Massachusetts; the latest autonomous technology that is piloting freight trains in Australia; signalling systems powered by using the energy from the very trains that run over them; and the ongoing roll-out of PTC in the US. However, whatever progress has been made with safety-enhanced technology and no matter how advanced, there's one principle that can’t be stopped or interfered with: physics.
The above safety video, which has been filmed by Transport for New South Wales, focuses specifically on the very real danger around the length of time that it takes to being a train to a complete stop. The answer, for this 400-tonne (unladen) train travelling at 100kmh train is more than 320 metres. That’s roughly 3.5 football/soccer pitches!
The video, which was released during Rail Safety Week, features a 30-second clip was filmed under controlled conditions on a warm sunny day which demonstrates perfectly what little control the driver of any train travelling at such speeds has if they wanted to come to an abrupt stop. As noted by Transport for NSW, any stopping time is increased should the train be fully loaded and/or the conditions were wet. It's an alarming thought how long it would take a bullet train travelling at full speed to stop, for instance. The message from Transport NSW, but one that is surely shared across the world as well, is that rail safety is everyone’s responsibility. Wise words.
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