In 2020, Queensland Rail (QR) announced Parasyn as Development Partners for the Traction Power SCADA System (TPSS) Upgrade project. For QR, the project journey commenced in 2019 working alongside a Tier 1 consulting firm to develop the concepts and establish the starting point for what will prove to be a 6 year journey.

Parasyn’s approach to any advisory consulting for Critical Infrastructure engagements like this is backdropped by also being an Implementation Partner who commences at design and manages technology for full lifecycle. This implementation perspective sheds light not only on technical risks, but how to commercially manage successful technology projects avoiding common traps asset owners and operators sometimes fall victim to.

As the Principal Consultant, Parasyn’s place in the QR project team has been to work closely with a wide stakeholder group to validate the suitability of previous concepts, conduct workshops to deepen understanding about the business needs from a practical and achievable perspective, develop detailed requirements for the technical solution, develop detailed requirements on how the system is to be implemented with greater certainty, manage current and emerging business risks, and incorporate human factors, change management and other non-technical influences.

After managing an EOI stage to gauge technology vendor interest, technical requirements were finalised. The extensive set of requirements formed the basis of a full project lifecycle road map and pricing estimate used for staging and funding purposes.

During the engagement, a number of enabling works were identified to de-risk the pending next stage project that allowed QR Engineering to prepare new standards and complete existing upgrade and replacement projects. The goal of the enabling works is to ensure the TPSS implementation to proceed unimpeded by external project disturbances and any uncertain scope expectations.

To demonstrate a commitment to Systems Engineering Management Practice, over 15% of the developed requirements are dedicated to how the system is to be designed and deployed. This hands-on focus empowers both the successful technology supplier (vendor) and QR to understand exactly how to play in concert. Good technology and poor implementation practice too often damage the reputation of reputable technology providers. Just because you have good technology, doesn’t mean you get a good outcome. On the flip side, good implementation practice will struggle with poor technology, however, superior Systems Engineering Management Practice will draw out constraints, technical challenges, staging difficulties, operational acceptance roadblocks and a myriad of unknown issues before they become unmanageable.

One of the most important elements in a project of this nature that impacts a large portion of an organisation is stakeholder involvement and support. As such, tireless emphasis was made by Parasyn and QR project leaders to ensure stakeholders trusted the process and felt involved at every point that could impact their areas of influence and responsibility. Many workshops were conducted with wide business representation including technical experts and group managers. During and after workshops Reports were developed, validated against the greater objectives, approved, and then amalgamated into the development stage solution.

The TPSS Upgrade project is a long-term undertaking. As such, planners with a view into long term business needs, and commercial managers regulating budgets to support those plans, contributed to the outcomes and validated that the business can support the developed project requirements and its guiding recommendations.

As QR approaches the implementation stage where a supplier and technology will be chosen, there is a quiet confidence that the business will achieve its technical and user adoption goals in a time period much more ambitious than previously believed was possible.

It’s been a delight for Parasyn to work with Queensland Rail in this high trust and deep impact project.

Model Predictive Control emulates plant operation