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Site Notification

Site Notification

U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Implementation of Systems Integration Testing

Date: July 10, 2015

Project Name: Central Florida Commuter Rail Transit (CFCRT) Project – Phase 1

Abstract: Systems Integration Testing (SIT) on Phase 1 of the CFCRT Project encountered a number of issues as the project moved from construction completion to system testing and pre-revenue operations.

Project Phase(s): Construction through Start-up

Category: Project Management


The Initial Operating Segment (IOS) of the CFCRT Project (also known as SunRail), or Phase 1, is a 32-mile corridor consisting of 12 stations. Phase 1 includes the purchase of seven diesel electric passenger locomotives, nine cab cars and five coaches; approximately 18-miles of additional second track being added to the existing 11-miles of double track; a new railway wayside signal and communication system; grade crossing upgrades; station platforms and canopies at all 12 stations; park-and-ride lots at seven stations; construction of a Vehicle Storage and Maintenance Facility (VSMF) and Operations Control Center (OCC); and other elements necessary to achieve project implementation. Phase 1 was progressed under the following contracts:

  • Design-Build-Maintain (DBM) – Final design and construction of the civil roadbed, mainline and yard tracks; including special track work, station platforms, VSMF, OCC, signals and train control, grade crossings and warning systems, fiber optic network and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA).
  • Station Finishes No. 1 – Canopies and station amenities for seven stations, including, lighting, public address, variable message signs, closed circuit televisions, telephones and signage; roadway access and parking areas.
  • Station Finishes No. 2 – Canopies and station amenities for five stations, including, lighting, public address, variable message signs, closed circuit televisions, telephones and signage; roadway access and parking areas.
  • Locomotive Supplier – Provided seven rebuilt diesel electric locomotives for passenger service.
  • Passenger Car Supplier – Provided nine new cab cars and five new coach cars for passenger service.
  • Fare Collection Equipment – Provide ticket vending machines, ticket validators, and appropriate system control equipment.

In order to ensure that all the system elements provided by the contractors functioned safely and in accordance with design requirements, Systems Integration Testing (SIT) was critical.

One of the most significant issues with regard to SIT was the lateness and incompleteness of the SIT Plan. The Grantee, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), relied on their operations and maintenance (O&M) contractor to prepare the bulk of the SIT Plan; however, unanticipated delays in awarding that O&M contract due to legal protests by other entities followed by the O&M contractor’s staff recruiting and “project learning curve” periods resulted in late development of the SIT Plan, particularly the testing procedures which were incomplete and poorly documented.

Other issues of concern included insufficient staffing and poor testing documentation. Limited staffing resources resulted in some tests not being witnessed (no witness signatures) and a significant portion of the test documentation was incomplete or inaccurate. Delays in receiving and commissioning of the locomotives, which were critical to the SIT, resulted in testing delays and restricted track access due to freight and intercity passenger rail requirements, particularly during the holiday period, further impeded progress on SIT.

The Lessons:

There are several lessons learned related to the SIT Plan from the Phase 1 of the CFCRT Project:

  • Complete the SIT Plan well in advance of the construction completion date. One year ahead of construction is recommended. This will make all parties aware of the resources, both equipment and manpower, that are required to carry out the SIT and allow a viable SIT schedule to be developed.
  • Have sufficient staff resources on the project team to perform field testing and keep up with the paperwork. The staff performing the field testing do not normally have the time to complete the necessary documentation.
  • If applicable, have the SIT Plan completed before the O&M contract is awarded. This will allow the O&M contractor to include appropriate staffing levels to support SIT in its proposal. Once on-board, the O&M contractor can be given the opportunity to comment and make recommendations to improve the SIT Plan.
  • Have a back-up plan in place in case equipment (such as vehicles) is not available (i.e., lease vehicles from other agencies to take the place of late and/or non-working equipment).
  • If the project is on an active railroad corridor, ensure that sufficient curfews are available to perform SITs. Attempting to perform SITs in conjunction with normal railroad operations usually results in delays to both entities.


The lessons are applicable to Grantees with rail projects that require systems integration testing.

Contact Persons:

Edward Nicholson, PE
Systems Integration Manager
Hill International, Inc
One Penn Plaza – 34th Floor
Suite 3415
New York, NY 10119
(201) 819-0882

Tawny Olore, PE
SunRail Program Management
801 SunRail Drive
Sanford, FL 32771
(407) 732-6705

Last updated: Sunday, January 31, 2016