The study “ETCS capacity on nodes”, commissioned by UIC to the University of Aachen/VIA Con, is the continuation of the analogous study about the influence of ETCS on the capacity of lines carried out in 2008. In a dedicated workshop at UIC Headquarters, the new study, which will be finalised soon by means of a substantial report, was presented and discussed. About 20 signalling and ERTMS/ETCS experts from IMs and RUs followed in detail the explanations of the VIA Con experts on the methodology and the tools used to assess how capacity is influenced in major junctions when ETCS is implemented in different configurations.
The workshop, chaired by Messrs P. Winter and P. de Cicco of UIC, was animated in the first part by UIC members from ATOC, BV, Network Rail, PKP PLK sa, SBB to SNCF sharing their ERTMS experiences and presenting their migration plans.
In the second part, the study was presented by experts of VIA Con and discussed in detail with those present at the workshop. Extensive time was dedicated to the analysis of blocking time computation and capacity consumption with regard to ETCS. Two junctions are object of the study – Berne (through station) and Munich (dead-end station) – different ETCS scenarios were investigated and the results presented. Parameters were tested and fine tuned with the experts.
The software tool used by the University of Aachen for simulations is a specific software (LUKS) developed for capacity assessment of railway infrastructure by means of timetable construction, simulation of railway operation or stochastic analysis of infrastructure and its bottlenecks. For the ERTMS/ETCS study in question some necessary enhancements (e.g. ETCS braking curve model) have been implemented.
The methodology together with the analysis were validated by UIC Members who congratulated with VIA Con and the University of Aachen for the good work developed, considering the complexity and innovativeness of the subject. The whole community is looking forward to receiving the study in its final form for being used and referred to in the national ETCS applications. The final study will be presented and delivered at the next ERTMS Platform, at the end of March next, in a dedicated session.
Some railways showed interest in applying the methodology and using the software tool on some specific national junctions. A more in depth comparison with their tools and their “savoir faire” in this domain was also foreseen for the future. They will address UIC and VIA Con for further possible developments in a next workshop.