Luas to improve backup plans following storm-related service disruptions
Commitment to improving remote controls after damage to central facility caused two days stoppage
Plans are now being advanced to improve capabilities at the Sandyford and Broombridge control rooms so the Luas system can be operated from a location remote from the central control facility. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is advancing plans for an alternate backup facility for Luas controls after storm damage to one building caused the cessation of services for nearly two days.
Storm damage to the roof of the existing control facility at Red Cow meant Luas services were suspended from Monday morning, when lines were powered down as a precaution, until Tuesday night, well after the storm had passed.
It has since transpired that the backup or redundancy servers are located in a different room at the same facility and so were also inaccessible due to storm damage, thereby exacerbating service disruptions.
Essential functions such as traffic signals and power systems are controlled from the Red Cow facility, and it was initially envisaged that this centralised setup would contribute to the durability of the control system.
However, it has since been acknowledged that this arrangement constitutes a “flaw” as already-available backup control rooms in Sandyford and Broombridge are not fitted with servers which can operate the entire system.
It would take some considerable time to relocate servers to an alternate location in the current setup should another emergency occur.
“This is a very important lesson learned,” said a TII spokesman.
“We’re going to take the critical next steps to build on our redundancy if there is another major event,” he added.
Plans are now being advanced to improve capabilities at the Sandyford and Broombridge control rooms so the Luas system can be operated from a location remote from the central control facility.
The spokesman confirmed that the roof of the control room in Red Cow is now structurally sound following repairs, and the servers are back up and running.
Some 90,000 Luas users were discommoded by the service disruption earlier this week, which lasted longer than for other forms of public transport in the capital and elsewhere.
The necessity to improve residual redundancy measures is of increasing importance with the Luas cross-city linkup due to be completed in December, connecting existing Red and Green line routes and providing an extension of the Green line to Broombridge.