On 17 February the UIC GALILEO – rail panel of experts and partners interested in the application of satellite navigation technology applied to the operation of low traffic lines have met in Linz (Upper Austria) to visit the GPS based train control in Austria, on the Linz-Lokalbahn (Linz local railways).
Prof. Dr. Burkhard Stadlmann from the Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering and Environmental Sciences has invited the panel of experts to analyze the application with a view to mark the progress realized in the practical application of the satellite navigation technology to train operation and to provide, by means of this application a demonstration framework of advanced GNSS technologies. This demonstrator site may be intended to support the portability of this technology, with solutions eventually provided by the railway supply industry and SMEs to satisfy cost effective operations of the local and secondary lines. In Europe the secondary and local lines with low traffic represent more than 60% of the total line network. Their existence is in danger because of the currently high costs of operation which is personnel intensive and based on very obsolete technologies (telephone and agents or very old electro-mechanical block) with poor reliability and great maintenance costs. The closure of such lines (which is already a fact in some countries) prevents the region from a safe, ecological and performing mobility alternative and decreases the potential and impact of the rail transport.
The Linz-Lokalbahn, operated by the Stern & Hafferl transport undertaking is a real success story of intelligent synergy between the GNSS technology, radio data telecommunication, simplified train routing devices and operational conception adapted to the technology limits such as to realize the performance and the safety target.
The operation rules of the train separation, train routing, train protection and train control are adapted to the reliable accuracy of 10 m for train location using the fusion on board of the GPS location and the train odometer. The route digital map is realized with high integrity, has a resolution of 5-10 m and is memorized on board. The train position is communicated eac 1 second to the traffic control centre (TCC) in Eferding.
The on-board equipment is based on non-expensive computers (MPL-Switzerland) and data / voice radio (RACOM, CZ).
No redundancy is provided, since the reliability target is realized with one set of equipment which serves the two driving cabins
The driving desk provides specific cab signal displays where the train position and the movement authority data are displayed.
The driver shall acknowledge the movement authority data and drive in consequence. The maximum speed which ensures the stop at the MA limit is supervised at the braking distance and the train is automatically braked if the speed is exceeded or the MA end is exceeded. Protection of the control area is realized through classical signaling for entry and exit from the Linz main station.
The control centre in Eferding is based on the commercially available equipment and displays.
The main operations in the TCC are the train traffic supervision, emission of the movement authorities for each train and execution of timetable registration and follow-up. The 90 km of line which has a traffic intensity with train follow on 20 minutes interval at peak hours is controlled by one man, supported by the computer technology. In the TCC two D-GPS stations are transmitting D-corrections data to the trains in the controlled area, securing the worst location accuracy of 10 m.
The system operation has been certified by two independent external experts and has been approved by the Austrian federal Ministry of Transportation
Since the full operation in 2006 the line network equipped with GPS based Austrian Train Control runs 180 trains each day and transports 1,1 million train*km per year.