Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Satellite keeps railway safety and efficiency on track

22.08.2005


European researchers have developed an innovative satellite-based control and command system for low-density railway lines that could herald a minor revolution in train transportation management.



“There is a real need for this technology,” says LOCOPROL project coordinator Michel Rousseau. “Existing command-control systems adapted for medium traffic density lines or the future ERTMS/ETCS [European Rail Traffic Management System/ European Train Control System] system dedicated to high speed and/or high-density traffic railway lines are too expensive to be used on railway lines with low and very low traffic density.”

He notes that as a consequence, many low-density traffic lines (LTDL) in the EU, Eastern Europe, the US and in developing countries are still equipped with ageing and dangerous human-based safety equipment with high maintenance costs, keeping the capacity of these lines to a very low threshold.


“We saw the need to develop an innovative and cost-effective system for low-density traffic lines based on new available technologies such as satellite location. The concept is to offer the same level of safety as high-density lines and enhancing the efficiency of these lines in order for rail transport to become more attractive,” he says.

A new sensor configuration developed by LOCOPROL was successfully tested in two test tracks in Belgium and in France during the project, says Rousseau.

Satellite-based positioning is the heart of the LOCOPROL system, emphasises Rousseau. An innovative positioning algorithm has been developed to provide train-borne signalling equipment with a failsafe interval of the train position, by making use of satellite range signals coming from a GNSS receiver. This ‘1D algorithm’ is so-called as it uses one degree of freedom movement.

The most recent tests carried out on the Gembloux-Jemeppe link in Belgium, a typical low-density line in a hilly environment with varying satellite visibility, were devoted to the 1D satellite positioning sub-system, intended to be used as the means to locate the trains in the failsafe LOCOPROL signalling system.

“The tests demonstrated that the combination of wheel sensors and GNSS sensors associated with the 1D algorithm developed in the frame of the project allows a level of performance at least compatible with LDTL requirements at a significantly reduced life cycle cost,” says Rousseau.

The beauty of the system is that the level of safety will be the same as on high-density lines, while the efficiency of these LDTL will be enhanced through reductions in operating and maintenance costs, helping to make railway transport more attractive, he says.

Another bonus is the fact that the system can be readily upgraded to cope with increased traffic or other signalling changes on a line.

In its basic configuration as implemented in the Nice-Digne line in France, the equipment is limited to the control centre and to the train-borne equipment.

To increase the performance of the line, the points can be upgraded with control or command sub-systems that can be controlled by the LOCOPROL system through an object controller installed in the station. In the same way, level crossing control can be handled by the LOCOPROL system, points out Rousseau.

The feedback from railway operators involved in the trials was overwhelmingly positive about the possibilities for providing enhanced line safety and efficiency at lower costs with the LOCOPROL solution.

“The trials demonstrated that it is really possible to operate a low traffic density line with LOCOPROL,” says Rousseau. “The availability of the system depends on the visibility of satellites. With GPS this availability is a little bit low in some areas but it is clear that the problem will be solved by the new GALILEO constellation working together with GNSS,” he says.

“The market for LOCOPROL is characterised by single track lines with simple stations and a low density of traffic typically in the range of 1-2 trains per hour. Large opportunities for the system have been identified for freight, passenger and mixed lines,” he says.

Among freight networks, he cites the mining lines in South Africa and Brazil as potentially ripe for commercial exploitation, while passenger lines such as the secondary network in Nordic countries, Germany and the United Kingdom also hold exciting possibilities.

“The lines in eastern European countries represent substantial potential as the infrastructures of these countries undergo modernisation. The strong growth in China and the consequent demand for a more efficient railway will also offer rich opportunities to exploit the LOCOPROL system,” he ends.

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Tool helps cities to plan electric bus routes, and calculate the benefits
09.01.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Realistic training for extreme flight conditions
28.12.2016 | Technical University of Munich (TUM)

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>