back to article How two failed capacitors stranded Sydney rail commuters

The railway signaling failure which crippled Sydney on April 12 (some commuters reported trips of more than three hours) was caused by a failing LAN switch and software that couldn’t cope, an engineering report has found. The switch, probably a Cisco device given that the Borg is Railcorp’s dominant LAN kit supplier, was part …


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  1. Martin 71 Silver badge

    S*** happens

    The title was my first thought. Although others may bay for blood, it's the kind of oversight that can happen. At least the system failed secure, inasmuch no trains crashed into each other, nobody died (that I know of!), and hopefully they'll now learn from this.

    Beer, because it's an Aussie tradition

  2. Fazal Majid

    Ah, the joys of byzantine failures

    A fault-tolerant system that assumes the only failure modes are relatively well-behaved ones like total failure, is not really fault tolerant, as the Aussies discovered to their regret.

  3. Head



  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    Trains kaput?


  5. Tim Bates

    So the end result...

    I imagine they'll have created a small team of fairly well paid technical staff to develop of solution. The solution, in around 12 months time, will be to leave it all alone and hope it never happens that way again. Which it probably won't.

    1. Adrian Esdaile

      you obviously don't live in NSW then....

      The solution will involve a parliamentary oversight committee run by Rev. Fred Nile (with all of his IT experience) . This should take about 4 years of junket, visiting major railway locations such as Paris, London and Rome, to see how things are meant to work.

      The committee will recommend about $2.1 billion spending required to fix problems. A tender by the government will receive bids ranging from $4.32 to $9 billion to fix, a final, FINAL price of $12 billion will be settled on, with a company headed by the Treasurer's brother-in-law.

      This will then take another 4 years to implement.

      After 6 years, with costs blown out to $18 billion, the government will finally admit that nothing has been done, they can't recall who the person who signed the contract was, or where he lives, the construction company will turn out to be based in a beachside shack in Belize, with bank accounts held in criminals-are-our-friends-Switzerland.

      The next day, the signals will fail again, but this time the software will have forgotten the 'safe mode' setting, having been changed by the government to 'make sure every train gets there really fast and early to keep the voters happy' setting.

      Chaos ensues, but being NSW this is normal.

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