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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>