A new Sydney Trains Rail Operations Center (ROC) now nearing completion includes a central control room featuring what is believed to be the world’s largest command and control LED display. This display was designed, engineered, and installed by NanoLumens from a commission by Australian integration firm Critical Room Solutions and technology consultant Digital Place Solutions (DPS).
The NanoLumens 1.6mm Performance Series LED display measures 32 meters long by 3.6 meters high and contains 41 million pixels and the largest number of processors ever installed in an LED display, according to the company.
Critical Room Solutions (CRS), a specialist in command and control room installations, and long-time NanoLumens technology consultant in Australia, Digital Place Solutions (DPS), commenced discussions with Sydney Trains in 2017 to determine the perfect display solution to allow the new control center staff to effectively monitor all 178 stations on the Sydney Trains rail network.
“Sydney Trains was initially looking at a cube wall for this installation because that is what they used in prior control centers,” said John Kimenkowski, technical supervisor at CRS. “We presented the option of LED display technology for several reasons, and once we made that pitch, NanoLumens quickly became the solutions provider of choice. From initial inception, concept proof and demonstration, to manufacture and installation, the process has been relatively short, at just over 12 months.
“Due to the long lifetime of components, low maintenance, low cost of ownership, and small amount of space it consumes, we believe that fine-pitch LED display technology is the future for many control room environments, and NanoLumens has a superior product and team capable of delivering what is needed for this industry.”
The super-fine resolution design provides an entire display resolution of 19,200 pixels wide by 2,160 pixels high, equivalent to 20 windows of native 1080p resolution or five windows of 4K resolution, all without the need for scaling.
The ROC is located near the Green Square Station in Alexandria, an inner-city suburb of Sydney.
The NanoLumens display blends with the new center’s interior design aesthetic, and is integral in enabling Sydney Trains’ expert train controllers to monitor the entire rail system, controlling the trains, tunnels, and platforms to deliver a safe and reliable journey. The entire length is suspended for ease of viewing by the controllers, some 6,900 kilograms in weight, and creates an open feel for the space which would have been closed and restricted had a floor-mounted cube wall been used.
“Our new Rail Operations Centre is more than bricks and mortar; it’s a symbol about how we operate trains and provide real-time customer information to improve the customer experience,” said Tony Eid, Sydney Trains executive director. “For the first time in our history, we have managed to bring together and consolidate multiple control centers in the one location.”
The consolidation from six different locations that were being utilized to monitor Sydney Trains’ entire operation to one central location at the ROC will drastically change the way the rail system manages day-to-day operations. And at the heart of it all is one extremely large NanoLumens display that provides critical information clearly, quickly, and effectively.
“The Operational Visual Display Screen (OVDS) plays a key role in providing the control center real-time information to make informed decisions with train operations, incident, and customer management,” Eid continued. “The OVDS, now dubbed the ‘WOW’ board due to its sheer size and stature, is the first of its kind used in Australian control centers.”
“The NanoLumens wall, which is what this display really is, is central to the main operations of this command and control centre for the entire rail network,” said DPS co-founder Gerry Thorley. “The central control room houses about 100 staff on the floor. Essentially, it’s like a NASA command and control center and operates 24 hours a day, every day, and this display provides critical rail information.”
Work is steadily progressing on the Sydney Trains ROC facility as the project moves closer to its opening in 2019. However, commissioning of the new display facilities by CRS at the new control center are already running smoothly—thanks in large part to the record-setting NanoLumens LED display.
“Sydney Trains is dedicated to creating a next-generation transportation system comprised of world-class fast, safe, and reliable trains that easily take customers to where they want to go,” Thorley said. “And NanoLumens technology now provides the centerpiece for the continued world class operation of this growing railway system.”
According to NanoLumens CEO Rick Cope, “NanoLumens LED displays are already being used in a number of military command and control centers around the world. The Sydney Train Station ROC marks a major step forward in our plan to bring the many performance and operational benefits of our solutions to leading transportation authorities.”