An Evaluation of Redundancy Concepts for Fault Tolerant Railway Track Switching

Samuel Bemment, Roger Dixon, Roger Goodall

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Railway track switching provides necessary flexibility to a rail network, but also introduces many single points of failure. Other industries have resorted to redundancy to provide the fault tolerance necessary to achieve specified safety and operational goals in similar critical systems, yet this approach has not yet been applied to track switching. This paper explores several system concepts for redundancy in track switching, and attempts a rudimentary cost/benefit analysis of each. Mechanical design is not considered, the paper being a feasibility study only. Finally, concept performance is evaluated in a case study at Derby Midland station (UK). The results show that providing redundancy which utilises only existing technology demonstrates some gains in operational availability. However, it is unlikely to be cost effective, and for redundancy in track switching to be a realistic prospect, novel designs and technologies may be necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-769
Number of pages7
JournalIFAC Proceedings Volumes (IFAC-PapersOnline)
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event8th IFAC Symposium on Fault Detection, Supervision and Safety of Technical Processes - Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: 29 Aug 201231 Aug 2012
Conference number: 8


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