Inland Rail Solar SIgnalling

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has unveiled a new solar-powered signalling system at Coolleearlee, NSW. 

The first solar solution ever implemented on ARTC’s Inland Rail network, the system will eliminate the need for a 2.2km trench through local properties to install and deliver mains power services to the new signalling site that will operate on the Narromine to North Star (N2NS) section of the network.

Using solar power, rather than mains power, will deliver an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution to powering the 24-hour signalling system.

ARTC estimates that using the solar-powered signalling system will save nearly seven million tonnes of carbon emissions annually and over $10,000 per year in operational electricity cost savings.

Installing solar power saved ARTC around $300,000 in costs, which were mostly savings from not building new trenching to connect to the electricity network, as well as associated hardware costs. 

Project Director for N2NS at Inland Rail, Peter Borrelli, said the solar powered signalling system will also have fewer ongoing maintenance costs as it allows engineers to remotely monitor system performance and efficiency without visiting the site.

“Delivering power to rural signalling systems can be a real challenge, so the successful completion of this solar powered system in Coolleearlee is a great outcome,” Mr Borrelli said. 

“We always seek to minimise disruption to local communities, so using solar rather than mains power, with all the construction work that would involve, is a great result for the local community too.”

The solar system is fitted with battery back-up that provides for ten days of back-up operation.

The signalling system at Coolleearlee, around 50km from Moree, will be used to support the crossing-loop that will operate in the area, allowing trains going in opposing directions to pass each other, for a more efficient rail service.

Feature image: Provided by Inland Rail. 

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