In January 2003, a RailCorp OSCAR suburban train driver suffered a heart attack and lost control of a train. The train derailed and overturned, resulting in seven fatalities, numerous injuries, and survivors who were trapped inside the train for a considerable time. A Special Commission of Inquiry recommended that all RailCorp trains be fitted with an Internal Emergency Door Release (IEDR) that could be operated by passengers in an emergency.
Nova Systems was engaged by RailCorp to design the installation of the IEDR onto the OSCAR train. The Nova Systems tasks focussed on the installation design, design supervision of the prototype installation and design completion for full fleet installation. One key challenge was the parallel activities of the design of the IEDR occurring simultaneously with the design of the installation by Nova Systems. This presented issues of changing data and changing requirements that needed careful management and focus on an installation design that was adaptable to change.
Nova Systems gained an in-depth understanding of the OSCAR trains mechanical and electrical design, and the interfacing OSCAR subsystems. A deep knowledge of the human factors aspects was gained and applied to ensure that the installed IEDR would be fully usable and compatible with RailCorp requirements. A safety program was performed to ensure that the risks were kept as low as reasonably possible.
The importance of open communication with customers and partners has been reinforced by this project. Customer communication, as in most projects, was a key to success and included not only UGL Rail, but also RailCorp as the end customer and Downer EDI Rail as a key partner company.