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Train Door Remote Control

Making one-person train operation safer
  [vote for,

One-person train operation (OTO), which does away with the guard, is being implemented in many places to save money. The guards responsibility includes checking the doors are clear before signalling for the driver to close them, usually by blowing a whistle. They then check that all the doors have closed properly, and wave a green flag, sign or torch to signal that the driver can depart the station.

OTO gives the driver all the responsibility of running the train. It's rare however that drivers can get a proper view of all the doors from looking out the cabin window, and even mirrors don't seem to help the situation much (especially on curved platforms, like on the London Underground). Thusly people tend to get trapped in the doors more often.

My idea is this: a remote control for closing the doors. The driver gets out of his compartment and acts as a guard would, pressing the button on the remote control when everyone has finished boarding, checking the doors for obstructions, then getting back in his compartment and starting the train.

There are some potential security issues with this that can be solved. For example, what if someone else manages to get hold of one, or if there are two trains in the station.

This can be solved by having the remote being plugged into a port in the drivers compartment when not in use. As well as recharging the remote when necessary, the train computer will automatically generate a random key when the remote is plugged in, and send it to the remote. The remote will only work if the key is correct. So any compromised remote will become useless as soon as the driver next plugs his remote into the socket.

Another security feature could also immobilise the train when the remote is not plugged in.

Snuffkin, May 04 2006


       What if someone breaks into the conductor's compartment when he's away, shoots him when he comes back, plugs in the remote, and takes the train away? Though something like this could happen even if the compartment is occupied. Without a conductor to hear someone breaking in or fiddling with the door to his compartment, the person could possibly pose a threat.
Amneal, May 04 2006

       Well, either that intruder would have to a) enter the driver's compartment from the other side, thusly risking his life by crossing tracks and attracting attention by jumping off the opposite platform, or   

       b) he would have to use the compartment door on the platform side of the train, attracting notice from the driver since he'd hear someone running behind him and he'd hear the door slam. The guard (or driver doing the guard's function) doesn't walk all the way down the side of the train, you can get a good view of the entire train from one point on the platform, just not in the driver's compartment.
Snuffkin, May 04 2006

Amneal, May 04 2006

       Many trains have sensors on the doors that either check if they're actually crushing something (resistance sensor) or if there is anyone standing in the way (light beam).
K o R, Sep 17 2006


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