Case Study

Hitachi Rail STS ETCS - Independent Safety Assessment

Hitachi Rail STS ETCS - Independent Safety Assessment
Published: 20 July 2021 Client name: Hitachi Rail STS Service provided: Indpendent Safety Assessment

Ricardo Certification* is providing Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) services for the European Train Control System (ETCS) technology to be installed on the networks serving Brisbane and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

The economic success of South-East Queensland over the past twenty years has underpinned a steady growth in the region's population over the same period, with average increases of around 50,000 a year. By 2030, the Brisbane commuter area is expected to be home to over four million residents.

With demand expected to increase on a rail network that already supports 50 million passenger journeys a year, Queensland Rail is responding with an investment programme of new routes, new rolling stock and the introduction of Level 2 European Train Control System (ETCS L2) system, a form of Automatic Train Protection signalling that will improve operational efficiency and increase network capacity.

Trackside and onboard equipment

Hitachi Rail STS has been appointed to provide the train control technology, with Ricardo Certification chosen by the manufacturer to independently assess that the system is designed, installed, commissioned and documented in accordance with applicable IEC standards (including IEC 62278/EN50126, IEC 62279/EN50128 and IEC 62425/EN50129).

The ETCS L2 system, comprised of hardware and software, involves the installation of onboard equipment on both existing and new rolling stock, along with new trackside equipment, traffic management technologies and digital radio systems.

Whilst the system will be retrofitted across the network – and integrate with existing safety systems – it will also be used on the 10 kilometre north-south Cross River Rail line that is currently under construction beneath the Brisbane River and the city’s central districts.

Existing trains are expected to be upgraded with onboard equipment over the next three years with the ETCS system fully installed and operational by 2026.

*Ricardo Certification comprises a set of companies within the Ricardo group that perform independent assurance and testing services, including Notified Body, Designated Body and Independent Safety Assessments. For more information see Ricardo Certification.

Role of an Independent Safety Assessor

At relevant milestones in the programme the Ricardo ISA team will perform reviews of key documentation - such as Safety Cases - for the trackside and onboard equipment involved across the project, looking for satisfactory evidence to demonstrate that:

  • The systems are designed to be safe and can be operated and maintained safely.
  • The systems have been manufactured / constructed / installed in accordance with the design.
  • Testing has validated that the system’s performance is consistent with the safety requirements of the operator and other regulatory authorities.

Global expertise

A core team of ISA experts has been brought together from our offices in the UK, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia to provide the experience and technical competencies required to ensure an efficient and unobtrusive delivery of the assessments and audits. Other domain experts from Ricardo's 600-strong rail technical services Division will also be available to support the core team whenever circumstances require.

Hitachi Queensland Breaker Merivale Railway Bridge, Brisbane

Key components of our ISA work

Assessments and audits

Our teams will review the safety assurance process, undertake audits of its implementation and, where required, perform direct assessments of the system or components. Each assessment is completed in accordance with relevant international and national standards, codes and best practice and in line with Ricardo’s own ISA Manual.

Risk-based approach

A risk-based methodology based on international practices such as IEC 62278 ensures that the whole system risk is accounted for, with sufficient evidence captured to demonstrate operational safety. Our team will maintain an ISA Risk Register to track the key challenges to safety certification and reduce potential delays during later stages.

Final deliverables

Following the assessment of safety cases in the project, the overall outcomes will be documented within a Final ISA Report. This provides a closing statement on whether, in the ISA’s opinion, all risks have been reduced "So Far As Is Reasonably Practicable’. It will also summarise lessons learnt and suggestions for improvements in future projects.

Independent Safety Assessments

Independent Safety Assessments

Find out more about our extensive experience of providing independent safety assessments on rail major projects across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

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