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SIGNALLING & COMMUNICATIONS


Optimal control of rail traffic management through a highly


integrated solution


Bob Theaker, account manager at Signalling Solutions Ltd, describes a product platform that integrates the control of both vital and non-vital data to provide a highly effective solution to rail infrastructure management.


S


ignalling Solutions Ltd (SSL), the Alstom/ Balfour Beatty joint venture company


formed just under five years ago, is the route to market in the UK and Ireland for the train control products and services of its parent companies.


A key component in the portfolio of leading edge product offerings from Alstom, is the control centre solution ICONIS – the Integrated Control and Information System.


ICONIS represents more than 30 years experience in the development and use of computerised Control Centres, integrating traffic control and SCADA.


ICONIS integrates the control of both vital and non-vital data, in the following areas:


- Signalling


- Security, CCTV, Access Control - Passenger Information - Maintenance Systems - Resources Management


This gives railway infrastructure managers and their agents complete control over their network operations.


Events are processed in real time and through a fully customisable display of objects and diagrams, controllers have access to all necessary data, allowing them to assess and act on any given situation. In routine situations, fully automatic train path management requires no operator intervention.


The operation of the system can effectively be viewed as the integration of three functional elements:


Monitor and Control – the acquisition of data from the signalling system, trains and infrastructure and control of status change Plan – timetable management, arrival time forecast, infrastructure management, consist management and exception management Automate – automatic route setting (ARS) with conflict detection and solution


Operation of the system is through the use of an integrated Human Machine Interface (HMI), utilising intuitive ‘point and click’ and ‘drag and drop’ features. The system can be customised using several interoperable screens.


The system is based on a flexible and scalable PC and Windows-based architecture, tailored to customer needs with ‘redundant’ equipment to increase reliability.


There is an independent interface to the signalling interlocking which allows ICONIS to operate with any kind of interlocking technology. For example, in one Italian application there is an interface with four different types of interlocking, based on both relay and computer technology.


ICONIS also features a custom gateway to allow interfacing via the web to any customer protocol.


The system can easily be expanded should the client require to increase the territory under control or to scale up from basic functionalities to more advanced traffic control tools.


ICONIS is now operating in over 20 countries through numerous mainline and urban (metro) applications. Alstom’s ‘flagship’ mainline reference is in Bologna. At this important


hub location in northern Italy, ICONIS is being used to control the daily movements of over 900 trains of many different types (AV, freight, suburban), on a network that includes the management of over 700 points and 70 stations.


Both relay and electronic interlocking, as well as the passenger information system is controlled by one control centre. Use of the new system started in 2007, through a migration from the existing system that left operation of the railway undisturbed. Application of ICONIS has generated numerous benefits:


• Network capacity has increased by 15% • Tight integration between timetable management and ARS with 95% of routes being set automatically in a complex railway network


• One operational mode as a result of merging 10 different signalling principles • Powerful traffic management through a user friendly interface reduced training and sped up the transition phase


• Complete seasonal timetable re-planning possible up to four hours before the new timetable start up


• Automatic routing and conflict detection in advance has produced a significant reduction in delays


• The control centre requires a very small operating team


Signalling Solutions Ltd is now looking to implement traffic management with ICONIS for its major UK clients.


FOR MORE INFORMATION www.signallingsolutions.com


rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 12 | 121


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