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lmsforever
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Can someone explain the benifits of ERTMS as the trials being carried out on the Cambrian Coast line seem to be very protracted and riddled with problems, I seem to remember that a high speed line in Holland had and still has many problems with this system.NR seem to be backtcking now and requiping the East Suffolk line with coulor light signals instead of ERTMS and that cab signaling on the WCML became a no no due to insermountable problems.So what is happenning with this system thank you in advance.

 

 

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There are issues in Europe with the financing of onboard equipment, and who should bear that cost. DB says it is paying €60,000 for an LZB/PZB unit today, but about €75,000 for ETCS hardware and the same again for the neccessary software (based on a 15-year life and not including cab display screens). There is also concern among some operators, notably DB, over the long-term availability of software and software obselesence, and this comes back to the issue of standardisation between suppliers mentioned above. SNCF says software developers are not railway specialists and introduce things that are not appropriate to railway use. They are also frustrated that new versions of the software are quickly superceded.

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... I don't know the exact cause of the delays on the Cambrian, but I suspect finance takes a major share of the blame...

 

I do belief you are correct - like certain rather essential items not being included in the original budget for the fixed infrastructure part of the scheme according to a pal in the signal engineering world (not exactly a new fault in schemes - even the GWR's broad gauge conversion included some S&T items overlooked in the budget/authority process and had to be voted funds after the work had been done).

On the Cambrian there were also some problems with on train equipment which only came to light in the testing phase.

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There were delays to Testing and Commissioning on the Cambrian due to the lambing season- drivers unavailable for overtime because of family commitments..

Further problems were encountered with the retro-fitting of the driver's screens into the DMUs, including difficulties with reading the information when driving towards the sun (I'd hardly have thought that was a problem in Mid and West Wales..)

I have seen ETCS in action in the new Lötschberg base tunnel, and very impressive it is. For those who don't know the layout, the tunnel is double track for only about a third of its length, as the Swiss ran out of money; the ETCS speed-regulation allows trains to regulate their speed to within about a kilometre per hour, so that, as the tail of a train coming one way clears the single-line section, the train coming the other way receives its permission to proceed without any abrupt braking. For those of used to working with the somewhat 'clunky' TVM system (E* have no step on their TVM between 80 and 160 kph, which is a shame when they're running in a tunnel with the majority of trains doing 140..), it was a revelation.

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The cambrian coast is now essentially an ERTMS system. Only the specially modified 158 units at the 97/3's that have been calibrated to the system are allowed across the route. The testing phase still continues with a Windup (Winderhoff) thingys now been tested.

 

The inital problems related to screen displays on the units fitted in the 158's (you couldnt see them in certain lighting conditions) but testing took a hit when a woman was killed by a light engine 97/3 near Penryhdudraeth which showed there was issues relating to calibration of the stock used on the route.

 

There interesting arrangements with the Welsh Highland Flat Crossing at Portmadoc, and when I can be persuaded to visit it from my usual haunts in the other direction from Portmadoc, I'll go and witness the crossing process first hand that i have only read about in the FR rule book

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The Rail Engineer is recommended for people who like some fairly technical content but (usually) written up in a very approachable way. The latest issue includes an article on the Welsh Highland and May 2011 and December 2010 had detailed articles on the Cambrian trial.

 

ERTMS is fundamentally about standardising signalling and on-train equipment so as to create ultimately a single interoperable signalling and train protection system across Europe. This is obviously important to the increasing number of international services on the Continent, though it will take decades or possibly centuries to deliver in full! For the UK this benefit is less significant, though HS2 would have to use it and current resignalling schemes include provision for ERTMS to be added later. Perhaps more relevant is that having interoperable equipment from all suppliers, standardised across the large European market, ought to realise economies of scale and reduce costs for signalling schemes.

 

It has to be said that there is a lot of doubt and cynicism about whether this is going to be workable and affordable in the UK (remember that Railtrack was expecting to have the most advanced level working on the WCML around ten years ago). As people have suggested, the equipment prices somehow sometimes seem come out higher than the equivalents for the old national systems. In the UK, except on high speed lines, traditional colour light signalling meets all likely needs and the introduction of modular equipment and processes promises to reduce scheme costs by more than 50%. The success of TPWS in capturing about 60% of the safety benefits of ATP means that there is now much less justification to upgrade to ERTMS on safety grounds. The Crossrail programme has been structured to keep the options very much open in terms of whether and when ERTMS is running on the GW main line.

 

The Cambrian scheme is driven by trialling the system in UK conditions rather than what is best for the Cambrian. ERTMS in its current form is not cost-effective for this type of route, and the replacement for the other RETB systems is likely to be something very different.

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It is fair to say that the Cambrian system has had a few problems !!! But in the scheme of things it is the first ERTMS system in the UK and was always bound to attract "first of the type" issues. Personally, I think the Cambrian sounded like the ideal network to trial the new system with a few plus points. A fairly standalone system but more than one line, a smallish fleet of trains which could be captive to the system if necessary,and a reasonable service pattern to provided enough of a testbed. One of the first changes was the recalibration of the route into metric as ERTMS seems only to be operate in metres !!

 

Whether the option of ditching RETB because it might be perceived as life expired, at this time was a box tick, who knows ?

 

With all the testing planned, there needed a massive increase in drivers and I believe the complement of ATW footplatemen at Machynlleth was practically doubled - not sure who paid for them though.

 

The fleet of around 24 two car class 158s was rumoured to be having a seating bay removed to accommodate all the ERTMS equipment, but this was a little headline grabbing when it actually came to he fitment I believe. There are a number of pieces of ERTMS equipment located in vsarious nooks and crannies on the DMUs. The class 37s were converted to provide the ability to trial loco hauled passenger and freight trains using ERTMS. Network Rail procured four "second hand" class 37s and had them overhauled and fitted with ERTMS. This involved removing one of the former underslung boiler water tanks which had become an extra fuel tank, in order to fit the ERMTS equipment cabinet.Of the four locos initially acquired, three have been fitted with a brand of ERTMS equipment, whilst the fourth is allegedly waiting for a competitor setup of equipment, so is not currently useable on the system. The class 37s were renumbered as class 97/3 - 97301-97304.

 

The system was switched on in two stages - Harlech-Pwllheli, and "rest of" which is Sutton Bridge Jn-Aberystwyth, and Dovey Jn-Harlech. A number of issues were discovered. one being visibility of the LED screens in the confined class 158 cabs, which need to be visible in all lighting conditions.

 

A couple of loco hauled trains have visited the Cambrian using the three class 97s,but there have been issues on some passenger and ballast jobs.

 

Because the system has been converted to ERTMS and a suitable fitment has not yet been tested and approved for preserved steam operations, the popular Cambrian Coast Express operation this summer was cancelled. There are rumours that a Scandinavian designed portable ERTMS console can resolve the issue of locomotive working over the Cambrian lines, but no firm evidence of that in the UK yet.

 

A recent document was posted by a senior figure in ATW ;

 

http://www.signalling-train-control.com/upload/pages/Day11130_Peter_Leppard.pdf

 

Further information can be obtained here ;

 

http://www.nwrail.org.uk/nwnews.htm

 

and here ;

 

http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?p=734771

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The cambrian coast is now essentially an ERTMS system. Only the specially modified 158 units at the 97/3's that have been calibrated to the system are allowed across the route. The testing phase still continues with a Windup (Winderhoff) thingys now been tested.

 

The inital problems related to screen displays on the units fitted in the 158's (you couldnt see them in certain lighting conditions) but testing took a hit when a woman was killed by a light engine 97/3 near Penryhdudraeth which showed there was issues relating to calibration of the stock used on the route.

 

There interesting arrangements with the Welsh Highland Flat Crossing at Portmadoc, and when I can be persuaded to visit it from my usual haunts in the other direction from Portmadoc, I'll go and witness the crossing process first hand that i have only read about in the FR rule book

 

Not to sure of this statement, when the lady died, the line was under RETB at the time, the loco was not testing (route learning run). No problems wilh any calibration (running as i said under RETB, mph, etc). System as had teething problems, and will continue to have. With regards to the 97s, these are being sorted and have currently worked one charter, another running this Saturday. Numerous ballast and tamper moves been done (another move from Mach - Dovey - Coleham, being started in about 4 hours!). A top and tail move all over the line (Track Inspection Coach) running next mon and tuesday (day time).

 

With regards 'calibrated' it's more than that. it's full fitment of equipment onto the loco/stock and modifications to the cab.

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The cambrian coast is now essentially an ERTMS system. Only the specially modified 158 units at the 97/3's that have been calibrated to the system are allowed across the route. The testing phase still continues with a Windup (Winderhoff) thingys now been tested.

 

The inital problems related to screen displays on the units fitted in the 158's (you couldnt see them in certain lighting conditions) but testing took a hit when a woman was killed by a light engine 97/3 near Penryhdudraeth which showed there was issues relating to calibration of the stock used on the route.

 

There interesting arrangements with the Welsh Highland Flat Crossing at Portmadoc, and when I can be persuaded to visit it from my usual haunts in the other direction from Portmadoc, I'll go and witness the crossing process first hand that i have only read about in the FR rule book

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It's only the worldwide standard (and yes, that includes the UK!!) for measuring distance, so that would make sense, wouldn't it? ^_^

 

 

I guess that depends which part of the wide world you are in at the time. I don't recall any of our transatlantic friends using much metrication in their measurement. I still measure my journey to work in miles and my speed is miles per hour.

 

We have what we have because too many flaming British kow towed to the shower in Brussels who are trying to force us into their way of life. Sorry Dutch Master but this country must be either totally metric or totally imperial and the politicos need to pull the splinters our of their posteriors and decide.

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However under EU agreement the kilometre is not the official unit of measurement of distance on Britain's railways - the mile and chain are.

And the roads. I do not see either being changed in my lifetime - 30 limits becoming 50 kph, 70 limits being re-signed as 120? You don't need to be much good at risk assessment to see where that might lead. It's stupid enough that UK official fuel economy figures include 56 mph - 90 kph, which is the usual out-of-town single carriageway road limit in Europe, but is not a speed anyone is required to drive at in the UK!

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...56 mph - 90 kph, which is the usual out-of-town single carriageway road limit in Europe, but is not a speed anyone is required to drive at in the UK!
Except HGVs fitted with EU mandated Speed Limiters...
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Here's a short article I wrote recently for International Railway Journal on the Cambrian ERTMS project, which includes some insights from the aforementioned Mr Leppard of ATW: IRJ June 2011

 

 

Thanks for that Keith.

Are Ansaldo involved in the Hertford project too ? I guess they are.

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Here's a short article I wrote recently for International Railway Journal on the Cambrian ERTMS project, which includes some insights from the aforementioned Mr Leppard of ATW: IRJ June 2011

 

What Peter (Leppard) seems to have missed is that the ERTMS trial on the Cambrian is taking place there precisely because it is a single line; under the original agreement for trial sites in various countries Britain took on the single line trial with certain pre-stated (ETCS) levels of equipment and control to be tested. But having said that I can absolutely understand his concerns as an operator who is suffering from the birth pangs of the kit (although I'm inclined to asjk questions about Driver training if SPADs are occurring to teh extent reported!

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OT

 

And the roads. I do not see either being changed in my lifetime

 

Distance markers on motorways are now in km. Spot the little signs at the side that are approximately every 0.5km unless a junction gets in the way. A nd B denote the individual carriageway. The (white/red/blue) marker posts that include the direction to the nearest emergency telephone are at 100m intervals.

 

Cheers,

Mick

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OT

 

 

 

Distance markers on motorways are now in km. Spot the little signs at the side that are approximately every 0.5km unless a junction gets in the way. A nd B denote the individual carriageway. The (white/red/blue) marker posts that include the direction to the nearest emergency telephone are at 100m intervals.

 

Cheers,

Mick

 

Marker posts have been in metric for decades; it is only the Driver Location Signs put up over the last 6 years which has made this more noticeable. Also these are locations (chainage), not distances,

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OT

 

 

 

Distance markers on motorways are now in km. Spot the little signs at the side that are approximately every 0.5km unless a junction gets in the way. A nd B denote the individual carriageway. The (white/red/blue) marker posts that include the direction to the nearest emergency telephone are at 100m intervals.

 

Cheers,

Mick

 

But the phones are a mile apart.....

 

Richard

 

 

 

 

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Marker posts have been in metric for decades; it is only the Driver Location Signs put up over the last 6 years which has made this more noticeable. Also these are locations (chainage), not distances,

 

A planning officer acquaintance of mine told me that in the 1970s there were serious plans to switch road signs to metric, to the extent that some motorways built at that period were built with junction exit signs at 500m and 1km distances, rather than the earlier 1/2 and 1 miles. Said signs were labelled up as being at thirds of a mile; I can recall them being around in the 1980s, but they've pretty much all been replaced now, other than in sites where junctions are very close together.

 

Ireland, of course, did switch over to metric road signage. Not having driven there, I have no idea whether or not there were serious adoption problems.

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I guess that depends which part of the wide world you are in at the time. I don't recall any of our transatlantic friends using much metrication in their measurement. I still measure my journey to work in miles and my speed is miles per hour.

 

We have what we have because too many flaming British kow towed to the shower in Brussels who are trying to force us into their way of life. Sorry Dutch Master but this country must be either totally metric or totally imperial and the politicos need to pull the splinters our of their posteriors and decide.

 

As a genuine Welsh Canadian I have to point out that Canada went metric 'hard' back in the 1970s; one weekend we drove to the mountains and passed a highway crew busily pasting km distances over the Imperial ones, and when we drove back the whole route had been done. Indeed, the whole country seemed to be done in that one weekend. Good old Canadian know-how!

 

Problems there with 50 kph speed limits in towns? Not that I ever noticed, except for a few visiting Americans...

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