Logistics, Ports & Terminals

Solar to power Inland Rail signalling systems at Coolleearlee

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) will use solar power to provide electricity to its Inland Rail signalling systems at Coolleearlee, NSW.

The solar power system eliminates the need for a 2.2 kilometres trench through local properties to install and deliver mains power to the signalling site.

It will provide 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 7 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually and over $10,000 per year in operational electricity cost savings.

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

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In addition, using solar power on the signalling system also reduces Inland Rail’s ongoing maintenance costs as the solar system allows its engineers to remotely monitor system performance and efficiency without visiting the site.

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

The signalling system at Coolleearlee, around 50kms 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, allowing a more efficient rail service.

“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,” Inland Rail project director for the Narromine to North Star sections, Peter 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.”

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