Signalling Solutions NEWS

integr8 Friday, 2nd March 2012

The three principal objectives used to develop Signalling Solutions Limited’s (SSL’s) integr8 solution are:
- To deliver a scheme for a reduced Signalling Equivalent Unit (SEU) cost when compared with a scheme using ‘traditional’ processes.
- To demonstrate a whole life
cost saving.
- It is future ready for later migration to ETCS.

The architecture adopted by SSL is based on ‘signalling islands’. On a line such as Ely to Norwich, SSL’s pilot scheme, the line can be divided into clusters of signalling equipment, generally based around stations. Some have level crossings attached to them, some have switches and crossings, but each cluster is essentially an ‘island’. Ely to Norwich contains ten such islands, which are connected to each other and to the control centre at Cambridge using the Network Rail Fixed Telecoms Network (FTN).

At the heart of the system is the Smartlock 400T interlocking developed and manufactured by parent company Alstom and supplied by SSL. The Central Interlocking (CIXL) contains partitioned data, thereby creating a number of Virtual Interlockings (VIXL), each used to control one island. The application software used by the interlocking is conventional Solid State Interlocking (SSI) data, enabling existing data production techniques to be used. However, because of the modular nature of the scheme, the data can be assembled from pre-constructed library blocks of data instead of starting from scratch, reducing production costs.

Train detection will be achieved using axle counters with the Axle Counter Evaluator (ACE) situated at Cambridge. Also at Cambridge, an Integrated Electronic Control Centre (IECC) Scaleable system developed by Delta Rail will be used by the signallers to control the line, building on the previous success of ‘classic’ IECC but with a significantly reduced amount of hardware. The new system is built on an industrial hardware platform using software modules to provide the required level of functionality and size. This includes being able to close down workstations at night and transfer control to other signallers, so allowing manning levels to match traffic density.

Each island is controlled by an integr8 equipment building containing the interface to the FTN, the power supplies and the control equipment for each of the signalling objects. For the vast majority of islands on any modular scheme where integr8 is applied, standard equipment rack layouts can be used. Provision has been made for an Up Line rack, a Down Line rack and MCB OD (Obstacle Detection) level crossing racks.

A departure from heavy signal structures on large concrete bases has been achieved by using a lightweight signal development from Dorman. SSL has worked alongside Dorman to ensure all the requirements of integr8 are included within the base unit. Sitting on a screw pile, each pre-wired, pre-tested signal unit also forms the housing for the post and light unit. Once the pile is installed, the base unit is simply wheeled, or skated, to the site and bolted onto the pile. Next, the lightweight post is delivered by two men and lifted into
position. The plug couplers on the base of the unit are connected and the final alignment is set up by adjusting the base unit.

Having assembled the components into a working system at SSL’s Beeston depot to demonstrate the integr8 concept and its operation to more than 300 industry representatives, SSL is now driving to deliver
the pilot scheme. Currently in the detailed design phase, enabling works are being carried out concurrently. At the turn of the year the island equipment buildings (which will already have been assembled and pre-tested off site) will be delivered. The main commissioning events for the scheme take place at the end of June and the end of July 2012. 

SSL is confident that, once the approach has been fully ratified, its use will form a cornerstone in the drive to achieve significant reductions in the delivery costs of signalling projects.