Trains know when to go thanks to their timetable, and the signalling system. The timetable tells a train which tracks to take and which stations to stop at. The signalling system enforces the route that the train goes down and prevents trains from crashing into each other.
Trains turn around by reversing their direction at the end of the line, or by detaching the locomotive and running the locomotive to the other end of the carriages. Trains need to turn around quickly to keep serving customers. We look at how trains turn around and why it's important.
Rail systems is the term used for all the systems that support the operation of a train service. This is a distinct term given to the parts of the train line that are not the civil structures which train lines are built on. I put together this guide to common rail systems, such as rolling stock, to help people understand this term.
A train driver knows when to stop the train because the train is approaching a stop signal, or the train is approaching a platform. The driver knows when to apply the brakes thanks to many hours of experience studying and driving the route under supervision. Markers can be found on station tracks to help the driver line up the doors, and red stop signals often stop a train automatically if it moves past.
Train drivers use headlights to see at night, just like a car. Unlike car headlights though, the ones on a train are focussed on the track ahead, and not on a wide field of view. Train drivers can only see the track and not if something is going to run across the track in front of them.
When I started in the rail industry, these safety concepts required to work on track felt a little confusing. I started as an engineer in projects, but understanding all of these safety points is also a necessity for maintenance workers, drivers, and anyone else who works amongst live rail lines.
The key difference between heavy rail and light rail is the distance it takes the vehicle to come to a complete stop in an emergency. Light rail vehicles can share their network with cars as they are designed to stop in shorter distances. This means light rail vehicles often have to travel slower, but also makes them more accessible to people at street level.
Trains spend their nights parked in the depot. In the depot, trains are checked, inspected, maintained, and repaired. Train depots employ a lot of people to keep the depot running, including plant and machinery operators, technicians, and engineers.
Trains avoid collision by following one simple rule. A train cannot move forward until the driver is sure there is no train on the path ahead. Train drivers are given this information through signals. What is signalling, and how does it help prevent trains from colliding.
Trains activate crossings because the crossing detects the train coming. The crossing uses electric current to figure out if there is a train nearby, what direction the train is travelling in, and how fast the train is moving. How long do crossings stay down there, and what happens if they get stuck?
Modern trains can be self-driving. A computer system called Automatic Train Operation drives the train in the place of a person. The computer system can accelerate the train, brake the train, and even stop in an emergency. Self-driving trains don't mean the end of human jobs however, there are still plenty of jobs available in the rail industry.
Automation is coming to the rail industry. Trains drive themselves to a computer generated timetable. They can even correct themselves in case of problem. Thankfully for us humans, there are still jobs we can do to keep the automatic trains running. We can be the people in charge of the trains, we can fix things when they break down, or we can work with the community to help everyone make the most of a good train service.
People are surprised when I tell them how quiet trains can be. Trains honk their horns often to warn people that there is a train coming. It is because trains are quiet that they must honk their horn, otherwise people wouldn't have enough time to get out of the way.
Trains change track using a machine that switches the direction of the rails. The switch or point machine moves blades of rail into place that change the direction of the train wheels. Deciding which track a train should use is the job of the train controller, though it is usually handled automatically by computer.
The difference between a train and a tram is that a train runs on its own tracks separate from other vehicles; a tram shares at least part of its track network with other vehicles such as cars. In some cities, the word train can refer to the vehicles that run on a tram network, on a traditional train network, or even on a metro network.
Rail engineering is a future-proof career that offers great salaries for any level of education. As cities develop their smart city visions, rail projects continue to form the foundation of those visions. Good rail engineering careers are available in maintaining track, maintaining rolling stock, and maintaining signalling.
With a push for innovation and automation, and with continual need to be operated and maintained, a lifelong career can be built out of working on infrastructure. Three jobs with great growth potential are railway engineers, roads workers, and town planners.
Smart city sensors are the best way to collect data in a smart city. They are electronic systems designed to monitor something and then send that data to be processed. Smart city jobs that involve working with these sensors include designers, installers, and maintainers of smart city infrastructure.
The benefits I've experienced in moving to a city that's becoming a smart city are an easy and efficient way to move around, cheaper electricity and water, and an easy to work with government. We look at what a smart city is, what the benefits are, and how you can contribute too.
With a push for innovation and automation, and with continual need to be operated and maintained, a lifelong career can be built out of working on infrastructure. If you can innovate, automate, or operate roads, rail, bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure projects, you will have a good career.
Victoria laid down a budget this year packed with infrastructure spending. We took a look to see what we think the jobs growth will be over the next few years thanks to this budget. If you're constructing roads, rail, or solar we've got good news for you.
If you talk to your customers, you are less likely to lose your job to artificial intelligence. For all the development in chat bots and language processing, a computer still struggles to interpret customer requirements, understand their issues, and deliver work that meets their needs.
We believe in the huge potential of jobs in infrastructure.
Designing, building, operating, and maintaining infrastructure are jobs we can't see being replaced by automation.
Road, rail, airports, utilities, and many other infrastructure fields are already in high demand; we want to help you get in on the market.