RCS Australia delivered Arrium Mining’s (now Liberty Steel) Whyalla Port Expansion Project for Leighton Contractors in 2012. Our contribution involved designing and constructing a complete commercial off the shelf (COTS) signalling solution located within the steelworks in Whyalla, on the upper northeast coast of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
The extensive signalling project incorporated 15 kilometres of steel track containing two signalled balloon loops. The site has 11 active level crossings and interfaces with two existing main and several internal rail lines. RCS Australia was responsible for the scope, design, procurement, construction, installation, testing, commissioning, and delivery of power and communication networks.
Innovation is core to RCSA, which drove the realisation of the Whyalla project. For example, RCSA’s engineers developed a custom train control system that interfaces to an extensive HIMA HIMatrix based interlocking design with a Frauscher axle counter providing track vacancy detection. Critically the system needed to operate in an incredibly harsh environment reliably. Importantly for the site, the leadership team successfully pitched this radically new concept (a complete vendor-agnostic and end-user expandable and maintainable signalling system) to an organisation keen to innovate.
The remoteness of Whyalla meant the RCS Australia team had to conduct special planning and budgeting. Further complexities included variable cable and equipment delivery rates and consolidating freight from different sources. Despite these challenges, the project was a significant success and drove several expansion projects, including several exclusively solar sites. It is now successfully operated and maintained (with RCSA remote support as required) by OneRail.