4PTW – 4Tel’s Permit-To-Work System

4PTW is an electronic Permit-To-Work system for managing authorities to support track maintenance activities. The system includes a mobile application (app) for use by protection officers (PO) and a central server to integrate this into the train control environment.

4PTW addresses the issues and concerns highlighted in the Rail Safety Report 2014-2015 from the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator (ONRSR).  This paper acknowledges that “Worksite protection in Australia relies heavily on rules and procedures to protect people undertaking rail safety work. These administrative controls are highly vulnerable to human error and potential consequence of non-compliance can be fatal”. 

4PTW improves the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of track maintenance activities through the use of mobile app technology and integrated engineering controls.  It provides a complete solution for all maintenance activities in the corridor without reliance on administrative controls, voice communications or hand-written authorities.

The 4PTW process:

• A Protection Officer contacts the Network Control Officer (NCO) to apply for a TOA, PO provides worksite details
• The NCO applies the blocking in the Train Control System and sends the TOA details to the PO via the ETW app
• PO reviews the proposed TOA, confirms location on map and accepts
• GPS data allows the PO to see their exact location and ensure they are within their worksite limits.
• If an extension of time is required, the PO can request this through the app.
• Once the work is completed the TOA can be fulfilled through the app.

4PTW is a versatile digital solution, it can be used for various types of work-on-track methods and authorities including Track Order Authorities (TOAs), Work in Corridor and Look Out Working. The app can also be used for track-vehicle journeys, overlapping authorities and authorities following a train. Updates can be sent through to the Protection Officer via SMS and if necessary, phone calls can be initiated from within the app.

4PTW Advantages:

• Gives track workers the same level of protection as a train
• Reduces human error in verbal communications
• Greater location assurance, limiting exposure to potentially unsafe situations
• Improved ability to confirm arrangements have been accurately communicated
• Easily integrated into the control room, reducing reliance on voice relay exchange and paper-based forms
• Dynamic alerts delivered to warn of limits of authority

There are three levels of deployment available to meet specific business needs:

  • Level 1: Electronic messaging between train control environment and PO mobile app
  • Level 2: Level 1 plus integration with a centralised vital Interlocking
  • Level 3: Level 2 plus on-board enforcement of track vehicles/work trains

Contact us for more information or to request a demonstration.


ETW app map view

4WPS - A Worksite Protection System

The 4Tel 4WPS™ is a worksite protection solution using real-time location data of trains, Protection Officers and track machines to create a virtual geo-worksite boundary to alert workers of approaching trains. This virtual alert and reporting system allows for real-time monitoring of staff on busy rail corridors giving management optimal visibility of staff in the field.

The 4WPS™ system is a combination of Master Control Units, Personal Alert Devices, and a Web-Application which can be used on a smartphone or desktop computer. Each use GPS, radio and GSM networks.

The unique feature of this technology solution is it is able to generate live reporting to a centralised location for maximum visibility and quick accurate reporting of events, minimising human error and increasing staff efficiencies.

The suite is designed to improve situational awareness around worksites by:

  • Displaying the locations of trains, worksite, vehicles and field staff to web and smartphone users;
  • Complementing formal track protection processes with a real-time information services overlay;
  • Creating real-time alarms by detecting the movement of trains/vehicles across geo-fenced boundaries;
  • Assisting rail operations management staff with real-time situational appreciation;
  • Using ARA Competency Cards as an integrated control for ensuring correctly certified staff are operating worksites.

4WPS™ supplements existing safe working methods and is not a substitute for replacing formal methods already in service.


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4WPS-MCU/SCU - A Master and Secondary Control Units

4WPS MCUSCU 2As part of 4WPS, Master and Secondary Control units are used at a worksite to delineate worksite boundaries and mark them for display on remote tracking systems using GPS data reporting. This data is then used by the 4WPS server to create electronic boundaries called geo-fences to alert worksite staff of unauthorised entry to their worksite.

The Master Control Unit (MCU) monitors all tracked movements around a worksite and communications back to a network 4WPS server. One or more Secondary Control Units (SCU) monitors geo-fence boundaries at the edge of a worksite under the distributed control of the MCU. If any track vehicle crosses a geo-fence line, which is marked by both an imaginary line and a physical electronic break-line across the track, then alarms are generated. These alarms are then forwarded to all worksite parties via the site MCU and then to the central 4WPS server for onwards alerting to all concerned train control staff.

4WPS-MCU/SCU features:
  • Always-on monitoring of worksite location data
  • Monitoring of a physical barrier at a geo-fence to generate an alarm if the safety circuit is broken by a track vehicle
  • The monitoring of many site parameters
  • Automatic alarm reporting
  • Use of a specialised 4WPS server as the host processor

Contact us for more information.

4WPS-PPU - A Personal Protection Unit

4WPS PPUA 4WPS Personal Protection Unit (PPU) is a small electronic device carried by staff around a worksite. The device uses a radio signal to provide continuous monitoring of the worker’s location to the site Master Control Unit. It can also receive alarms from the site Master Control Unit or a Secondary Control Unit.

The device uses a ZigBee Personal Area Network as its core technology to allow small, low-power digital radios based on an IEEE 802.15.4 standard to be configured for site use. The PPU device uses a mesh network structure to transmit data over longer distances, passing data through intermediate devices such as other PPUs, a MCU or SCU to reach more distant ones. This allows ad-hoc worksite protection networks to be formed, with no centralised control or high-power transmitter/receiver able to reach all of the devices by the one radio signal.

4WPS-PPU features:
  • Built around industry-standard ZigBee IEEE 802.15.4 for Personal Area Networking
  • Always-on monitoring of data
  • Monitoring of many parameters
  • Automatic alarm reporting
  • Use of a 4WPS server as the host processor

Contact us for more information.

4WPS-VPU - A Vehicle Protection Unit

The 4WPS Vehicle Protection Unit (VPU) is a 4WPS Master Control Unit that has been configured for vehicle mounting. The extra functionality provided in a VPU includes ignition and vehicle telemetry monitoring, and access to car batteries for long hours of operation. The use of a VPU also allows small worksites to be quickly established and indicated back to the central Worksite Protection Server.

4WPS-VPU features:
  • Always-on monitoring of worksite location data
  • Monitoring of a physical barrier at a geo-fence to generate an alarm if the safety circuit is broken by a track vehicle
  • The monitoring of many site parameters
  • Automatic alarm reporting
  • Use of a specialised 4WPS server as the host processor

Contact us for more information.

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