‘Digital Signalling’ to be introduced on the ECML

swt_passenger

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I’m sure Network Rail will foot the bill for a National fitment of all cabs when the system goes live, just like TPWS and GSMR.

I wonder if that is factored into the £1.2bn “investment”?
2018 contract award reported in Railway Magazine:

“NETWORK Rail has awarded Siemens Rail Automation a contract to supply and install European Train Control System (ETCS) in-cab signalling on up to 750 British freight locomotives.”
Another recent contract concerns other loco classes.
 
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MarkyT

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I’m sure Network Rail will foot the bill for a National fitment of all cabs when the system goes live, just like TPWS and GSMR.
It helps if you've got a very modern fleet on a route in question such as south ECML. Not a problem when Zoomers, Thameslinks, GN Moorgates, Cambridge Electrostars were all specified at least 'ETCS-ready' from new even if the tech is not already activated on everything. Freight loco fitment is also now underway.
 

Tom Quinne

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2018 contract award reported in Railway Magazine:

“NETWORK Rail has awarded Siemens Rail Automation a contract to supply and install European Train Control System (ETCS) in-cab signalling on up to 750 British freight locomotives.”
Another recent contract concerns other loco classes.
There we go then, time to buy your knackered Class 31 register it for the Mainline so you get your ECTS kit for free.

Okay, an over simplified example but the point remains why should we (the taxpayer) fund the fitment of expensive kit to a privately owned loco ? I mean these spot hire or private owner locos, not the likes of DB etc
 

Tom Quinne

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It helps if you've got a very modern fleet on a route in question such as south ECML. Not a problem when Zoomers, Thameslinks, GN Moorgates, Cambridge Electrostars were all specified at least 'ETCS-ready' from new even if the tech is not already activated on everything. Freight loco fitment is also now underway.
Id assume the likes of a 66 wouldn’t be to difficult to fit, but a 1960s Class 37 or 47?

Do you fit a 55 ?
 

HSTEd

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Reassess the need for approach control signalling, where 2000t freight trains are brought down to a crawl only for the signal to clear into a loop or relief line?
Without a proper train protection and train control system, the safety case is going to be rather hard to make for allowing 2000t freight trains to brake just in time to not have an accident!
Trust professional drivers to driver their trains professionally maybe?
Driving a freight train wtih a traditional air brake is not a trivial matter, and if people repeat their tasks enough time eventually they will fail to do it correctly - that is just human nature.
SPADs still exist after all.
 

Tom Quinne

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Without a proper train protection and train control system, the safety case is going to be rather hard to make for allowing 2000t freight trains to brake just in time to not have an accident!

Driving a freight train wtih a traditional air brake is not a trivial matter, and if people repeat their tasks enough time eventually they will fail to do it correctly - that is just human nature.
SPADs still exist after all.
I take your point, a local example...

4 mile section, on a uphill grade stable freight traffic is in excess of 1500t.

The route is also shared with 90mph passenger trains, the loop is also on the uphill grade 25mph turnout into a 3 mile single signal section loop with run off protection.

The inlet signal is approach control, not only killing capacity, but increasing fuel consumption as freights are having to apply power to haul themselves up and out of the section after slowing down from (50-75mph).
 

Bald Rick

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Reassess the need for approach control signalling,
What we need for approach control is some form of signalling that can advise on the speed of the turnout before the driver is required to brake for it, and continuously monitor the driver’s actions to ensure it is complied with. That effectively removes the need for approach control signalling.

I’m only aware of one type of signalling authorised for use on the main line in this country that can do this, and it’s called ETCS.
 

MarkyT

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Id assume the likes of a 66 wouldn’t be to difficult to fit, but a 1960s Class 37 or 47?

Do you fit a 55 ?
At least with the cl.66, it's a fairly modern design with a processor-based tight loop traction control capable of advanced functionality like creep, and there will be huge economies of scale once they've got a perfected solution. Adding DMI, EVC etc to 1960s traction is going to be a major challenge however. But lets not give up hope entirely. Perhaps some kind of innovative solution can be devised within certain functional limitations for more primitive traction.
 

CW2

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I take your point, a local example...

4 mile section, on a uphill grade stable freight traffic is in excess of 1500t.

The route is also shared with 90mph passenger trains, the loop is also on the uphill grade 25mph turnout into a 3 mile single signal section loop with run off protection.

The inlet signal is approach control, not only killing capacity, but increasing fuel consumption as freights are having to apply power to haul themselves up and out of the section after slowing down from (50-75mph).
Taking this specific example, the best way to upgrade this without ETCS would be to install a 75mph turnout and drop the through linespeed to 85 mph for a short distance. That way the signalling could be free approach (as the diverging speed is within 10 mph of the main line speed).
This sounds suspiciously simple, but a 75 mph turnout takes a lot of space to fit, and you need room to curve back in again afterwards. For example, speeding up the route to the Down Liverpool at Weaver Junction involved purchase of part of an adjoining field.
The drop to 85 mph for the passenger train would be a negligible time loss, but the benefits from having a clear run for the freight would be significant in terms of both capacity and fuel saving.
 

MarkyT

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Taking this specific example, the best way to upgrade this without ETCS would be to install a 75mph turnout and drop the through linespeed to 85 mph for a short distance. That way the signalling could be free approach (as the diverging speed is within 10 mph of the main line speed).
This sounds suspiciously simple, but a 75 mph turnout takes a lot of space to fit, and you need room to curve back in again afterwards. For example, speeding up the route to the Down Liverpool at Weaver Junction involved purchase of part of an adjoining field.
The drop to 85 mph for the passenger train would be a negligible time loss, but the benefits from having a clear run for the freight would be significant in terms of both capacity and fuel saving.
Or, with a slower turnout, some kind of diverging distant indication using flashing yellow or splitting distant for the turnout.
 

CW2

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Or, with a slower turnout, some kind of diverging distant indication using flashing yellow or splitting distant for the turnout.
You could do that, but it would probably still involve the freight having to brake whilst on the running line towards the signal protecting the junction, then accelerate again once the signal had cleared. The OP stated the loop was a 3-mile single signal section, so in order to get a flashing yellow aspect for the diverging route you would also need to split the loop to provide at least one intermediate signal. (You can't have a flashing yellow to a red aspect at the next signal). So extra signalling costs involved.
 

4F89

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Without a proper train protection and train control system, the safety case is going to be rather hard to make for allowing 2000t freight trains to brake just in time to not have an accident!

Driving a freight train wtih a traditional air brake is not a trivial matter, and if people repeat their tasks enough time eventually they will fail to do it correctly - that is just human nature.
SPADs still exist after all.
Well, you sound like a professional freight driver now, make up your mind
 

MarkyT

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You could do that, but it would probably still involve the freight having to brake whilst on the running line towards the signal protecting the junction, then accelerate again once the signal had cleared. The OP stated the loop was a 3-mile single signal section, so in order to get a flashing yellow aspect for the diverging route you would also need to split the loop to provide at least one intermediate signal. (You can't have a flashing yellow to a red aspect at the next signal). So extra signalling costs involved.
Actually, from:
Rail Industry Standard, RIS-0703-CCS, Issue: 1.1, Date: March 2018
Signalling Layout and Signal Aspect Sequence Requirements
....
While...
G 3.9.1.9 A flashing aspect sequence is not used for an MA towards a bay or terminal platform.
It is the case that...
G 3.9.1.10 Where the first signal on the diverging route is capable of presenting a stop aspect, a flashing aspect sequence is used in the following circumstances only:
a) It is assessed that there is a high likelihood that the first signal on the diverging route will present a proceed aspect before the train reaches the signal.
b) The majority of trains stop on the approach to the first signal on the diverging route for another reason (such as at a station), irrespective of which signal aspect is presented.
However
G 3.9.1.11 An unacceptable level of signal overrun risk may be present at the first signal on the diverging route if it protects another junction, a level crossing, a station platform or a signal section that is frequently occupied by another train.
So for a goods loop with a trapped spur or suitable overlap, I'd say a flashing aspect sequence IS permitted under current standards subject to risk assessment, but I accept this is a requirement that has changed (possibly more than once) over decades, and I recall in the 90s resignalling a flashing aspect was used for entry to the bay platform at High Wycombe, which was allowed under rules of that time.
 

Class 170101

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Presumably though the higher the entry speed to the loop the longer it needs to be to ensure you don't exit the other end (or SPAD overrun tracks) so thern the loop needs to be longer as well which requires more land at the entry end for the faster turnout as well as the exit end for higher arrival speeds into the loop and thats before we get to talking about exit speeds of the loop where the longer the train the longer it takes to clear the loop the lower the exit speed of the points.
 

Ianno87

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Before we “invest” in digital signalling (DfT description) maybe we should actually invest in higher speed turnouts for loops, and main to relief crossings to allow slower trains to get out the way of faster ones...faster?

Reassess the need for approach control signalling, where 2000t freight trains are brought down to a crawl only for the signal to clear into a loop or relief line?

Trust professional drivers to driver their trains professionally maybe?

But we all know treating Railway professionals like kids is a money making scheme which bleeds money out of the industry.
ETCS dispenses with the need for approach control. Each train is supervised to the correct speed for the turnout by its braking curve. Darn sight better than spending putting in 70mph turnouts left right and centre. (Noting that the most critical ECML turnouts already are 70mph)
 

CW2

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Thanks for the clarification @MarkyT. As you sy, these things have changed several times ...
ETCS is the ideal answer as @Ianno87 says, but failing that there are ways of improving the current situation.
 

Nym

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It helps if you've got a very modern fleet on a route in question such as south ECML. Not a problem when Zoomers, Thameslinks, GN Moorgates, Cambridge Electrostars were all specified at least 'ETCS-ready' from new even if the tech is not already activated on everything. Freight loco fitment is also now underway.
Which locos are being fitted?? I didn't think any actually had anything fitted yet (unless fitted from new).

Id assume the likes of a 66 wouldn’t be to difficult to fit, but a 1960s Class 37 or 47?

Do you fit a 55 ?
Actually, fitting / modifying the BR Locomotives is a lot simpler than the GE Locomotives, thanks to being designed properly and to a series of strict standards (BR ones, not GE ones).
 

HSTEd

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I’m only aware of one type of signalling authorised for use on the main line in this country that can do this, and it’s called ETCS.
Do we not treat HS1 as the main line?

I'll shut up now.

Well, you sound like a professional freight driver now, make up your mind
What?
I am allowed to note that driving a freight train with a traditional airbrake is a skilled task that is not trivial to perform, but at the same time say that freight's failure to adopt more modern (and coincidentally easier to drive) technologies is a problem that I think should be dealt with by any means necessary?
 

MarkyT

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Which locos are being fitted?? I didn't think any actually had anything fitted yet (unless fitted from new).
Mentioned up-thread, a 10 year NR contract with Siemens to fit up to 750 freight locos, awarded early 2018.
 

gsnedders

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Presumably though the higher the entry speed to the loop the longer it needs to be to ensure you don't exit the other end (or SPAD overrun tracks) so thern the loop needs to be longer as well which requires more land at the entry end for the faster turnout as well as the exit end for higher arrival speeds into the loop and thats before we get to talking about exit speeds of the loop where the longer the train the longer it takes to clear the loop the lower the exit speed of the points.
Remember that ETCS continuously monitors speed versus a calculated braking curve: presumably movement authority would be granted to the end of the loop, so the turnout speed becomes the minimum of the speed permittable by the braking curve given the length of the movement authority beyond the turnout (i.e., so that the speed permitted becomes a function of the braking performance) or the speed of the turnout itself.

Because ETCS is monitoring the braking curve continuously, you don't need to lengthen anything or add overrun tracks: it should guarantee that the train never overruns in the first place. Indeed, if it does overrun you've had a major system failing, because the train protection system has thus failed.
 
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Nym

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Mentioned up-thread, a 10 year NR contract with Siemens to fit up to 750 freight locos, awarded early 2018.
I'm aware of the contract, but has anything actually been fitted yet?
 

MarkyT

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I'm aware of the contract, but has anything actually been fitted yet?
The article says:
Siemens will support the FOCs with up to 15 ‘first-in-class’ design and installation projects to be ready by late-2019. DB Cargo will provide a Class 67 and a Class 66, with GB Railfreight supplying a Class 92 for the test phase, due to start in early-2020.
Beyond that I know nothing, but I would expect at least some of the pilot installations to have been completed, although testing is highly likely to have been delayed by COVID.
 

JonasB

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Is there any potential to go above 140mph in this system, where journey times might actually be impacted? Curious as to the limits, and if that is system, stock, stations, track spacing.... anything else?

North of York would especially be useful, as future HS2 services could also use it. But appreciate the main raceway is below there :)
ETCS is designed to allow up to 500 km/h.
 

edwin_m

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Is there any potential to go above 140mph in this system, where journey times might actually be impacted? Curious as to the limits, and if that is system, stock, stations, track spacing.... anything else?

North of York would especially be useful, as future HS2 services could also use it. But appreciate the main raceway is below there :)
Platforms passed by trains at more than 125mph will have to be confirmed clear of passengers, which probably means none on the fast lines. This probably rules out 140mph south of Peterborough, most stations further north have speed restrictions anyway but somewhere like Northallerton would need major work to avoid a restriction in the middle of a long section where (alignment-wise) 140mph would be possible.

Someone who's looked into this question for NR told me that above 140mph the track spacing would have to increase. This means buying an extra strip of land over much of the route and re-building at least half of track, OLE, stations, structures etc. That's before anyone thinks about the capacity issues it will create. Unless someone finds a way of avoiding this, it's not going to happen, as a new line would be quite a bit cheaper and quite a lot less disruptive.
 

macka

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The ECML looks like it's flat and straight enough for 140 mph running but if you look at maps it is actually mostly several straight alignments joined by short curves which may not be large enough for 140mph running so there's a good chance you'll have to realign the curves if you really want to cut down travel times.

In the end it's easier just to build a second high speed alignment.
 

Bald Rick

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Platforms passed by trains at more than 125mph will have to be confirmed clear of passengers, which probably means none on the fast lines. This probably rules out 140mph south of Peterborough, most stations further north have speed restrictions anyway but somewhere like Northallerton would need major work to avoid a restriction in the middle of a long section where (alignment-wise) 140mph would be possible.

Someone who's looked into this question for NR told me that above 140mph the track spacing would have to increase. This means buying an extra strip of land over much of the route and re-building at least half of track, OLE, stations, structures etc. That's before anyone thinks about the capacity issues it will create. Unless someone finds a way of avoiding this, it's not going to happen, as a new line would be quite a bit cheaper and quite a lot less disruptive.
The ECML looks like it's flat and straight enough for 140 mph running but if you look at maps it is actually mostly several straight alignments joined by short curves which may not be large enough for 140mph running so there's a good chance you'll have to realign the curves if you really want to cut down travel times.

In the end it's easier just to build a second high speed alignment.
And that’s before rebuilding the whole infrastrucutre anyway - all the OLE would need replacement, every set of points would need replacing, almost every under track strap tire would need upgrading or replacing, and much of the plain line would need upgrading with closer sleeper spacing (particularly at any curves of any radii).
 

gsnedders

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And that’s before rebuilding the whole infrastrucutre anyway - all the OLE would need replacement, every set of points would need replacing, almost every under track strap tire would need upgrading or replacing, and much of the plain line would need upgrading with closer sleeper spacing (particularly at any curves of any radii).
With the OLE I'm aware that the tensioning is insufficient for multiple pantographs at 140mph, but what causes the issues with the track itself, and why wasn't that a problem with BR's running at 140mph? Simply track wear becoming more extreme with more frequent running at the speed?
 

Bald Rick

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With the OLE I'm aware that the tensioning is insufficient for multiple pantographs at 140mph, but what causes the issues with the track itself, and why wasn't that a problem with BR's running at 140mph? Simply track wear becoming more extreme with more frequent running at the speed?
For points, it is not permitted to have discontinuity in the rail above 125mph (as at all conventional switches and crossings), so they must be replaced with Swing nose crossings, as seen on high speed lines across the world. This was actually done at Ledbury Junction for the WCML upgrade, and then later undone!

For plain line, it comes down to sleeper spacing, which in turn is about track stability, particularly though any areas that involve a lateral force ie all curves. For high tonnage 125mph lines you need 28 or sometimes 30 sleepers per ‘length’, and if speeds are being increased to 125 then you need to assess any areas that don’t have this spacing to demonstrate the track will stay where it is supposed to. Going to 140mph makes this more of a challenge.

The good news is that 28/30 per length has been standard spacing for about 20 years now for renewals, but I can guarantee there will be many areas that are 26 or even 24 per length. And the work isn’t as simple as chucking an extra couple of sleepers in every so often!

There will also be alignment issues, particularly transitions into / out of curves.

BR didn’t run at 140mph in regular passenger service, at least not officially. Special dispensation was granted for each move.
 

bramling

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Funny, but the staff I know on both sides wouldn't recognise any of those "problems".
Ultimately there is some loss of flexibility due to the Cambrian having to have dedicated units, but I agree due to the Cambrian already being a little segregated this hasn’t turned out to be a major issue. No doubt this is part of the rationale for the Cambrian being selected for the pilot in the first place.
 

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