The International Conference on Train Control Command Signalling and Radio-Communication, organised by UIC, Indian Railways and RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. took place last week at the Manekshaw Center in Delhi, India. This conference was one of an important series of successful meetings on Control Command Signalling, including the conference held in Istanbul in October 2008 at the kind invitation of Turkish Railways (TCDD) and another edition held in Tokyo in June 2010 at the kind invitation of East Japan Railways (JR East).
This event was agreed at UIC world and regional level as an expression of cooperation in the signalling domain, also combining for the first time with Radio-Communication as a consequence of the growing importance of the radio-communication and its vital need for Train Operations, within the chain of transmission of information for train control, diagnosis, maintenance, efficient management and traffic control, passenger information and leisure.
The Conference gave the opportunity to more than 700 participants, signalling and telecommunication specialists as well as representatives from the political, industrial and research sectors, such as GG Tronics, Efftronics, Medha, Huawei, Cisco, Motorola Solutions, Vista, Mermec Group, TechnoSatComm, Leptonmaps, Paramount Cables, RT Vision, ADVA, TEJAS Networks, but also Alstom, Bombardier, Siemens, Thales, Hitachi or Kapsch, from 17 countries (among them India, China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Mongolia, Singapore, Australia as well as France, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and the USA, etc..), to benefit from an open, relevant and comprehensive information exchange on the state-of-the-art, technologies, needs and requirements, as well as the vision of future systems.
The two sections of the conference, led by 30 renowned speakers debated subjects such as:
- Practical, real implementation of systems and lessons learned
- Interoperability, modularity and inter-changeability
- Consequences of rapid developments of technology – especially in the IT and radio-communication – IP introduction
- Increased role of common norms and standards in a globalised technology world
- Supply with guarantees for efficient life cycle operation
- Decisions on new regional railway projects
In more detail and in the scope of the conference, the conclusions and outputs provided the railway train control command signalling and radio communication domains with a clear vision on achievements and of development tendency with concrete approach to demonstrate:
- The capability of satisfying the basic needs and requirements for evolution in the rail transportation system
- The opportunities to adapt modern systems to specific needs and requirements urged by particular traffic and train operations, regional developments, national inheritance and other such considerations
- The maintenance of an efficient platform to largely federate the knowledge, the best practice, the converging requirements and assess the supply base for the systems in their evolution of techniques and technologies
- The provision of support to the win-win process in the user-manufacturer relationship, where understanding of requirements and competition shall be responding to the market and the use of leading technologies to assure migration based on large technology developments.
The results of the study on “Proof of concept trial of VSAT based train control communication system”, undertaken in 2012 by UIC Asia-Pacific members, was also presented during the conference.
The conference was opened by a keynote speech pronounced on 21 March by the Minister of Railways, Government of India, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal. The event was also attended by the Chairman of the Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal, Member Electrical, Indian Railway Board, Shri Kul Bhushan, Addl. Member (Signal), Indian Railway Board, Shri M. Suresh, Addl. Member Telecom, Indian Railway Board, Shri P.K. Srivastava, Director General, UIC, Mr. Jean-Pierre Loubinoux and CMD, Railtel Corporation of India, Shri R.K.Bahaguna.
In his inaugural address, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal said that “Rail is the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly mode of transport and is the most preferred one rightly hailed as engine of growth. Shri Bansal said that Indian Railways is making a constant effort to ensure safety in train operations and wishes to achieve zero accidents using the most modern and efficient technologies. Under the modernisation plan for assets and with a view to improve line capacity and enhance safety in train operations, Indian Railways have adopted modern signalling and telecom solutions like complete track circuiting of station yards, centralised operation of signalling systems, automated block proving system by the adoption of Block Proving through axle counter, adoption of automatic block signalling and Intermediate Block Signalling on high density routes. This has resulted in increased safety and line capacity, the Minister pointed out.
Shri Bansal said that Indian Railways has been working to identify suitable technologies to be installed onboard to provide protection against ‘Signal Passed at Danger’ and over-speeding. With more and more emphasis on higher speeds and introduction on new trains including freight trains, Indian Railways is facing capacity constraint on many sections of the rail network. Hence, Indian Railways have to find new solutions to increase line capacity by using modern and cost effective technologies, Shri Bansal said.
Addressing the gathering, Chairman, Indian Railway Board, Shri Vinay Mittal said that “Indian Railways has one of the largest railway networks in the world under single administration and is the life line of the country. It plays a dominant role in the economy of the country, and has plans to upgrade its network with an aim to provide better and efficient and cost effective services. In the railways, signalling & telecom systems play an important role in safety enhancement and line capacity improvement. He said that over the years, Indian Railway has initiated number of steps to modernise its signalling and telecom systems by progressively providing route relay/panel/electronic interlocking along with multi aspect colour light signalling systems. He added that participants in the conference through participative discussions shall benefit immensely and will be able to grasp finer points required during the selection of the right kind of technology and ways and means to develop desired competence.”
Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, UIC Director General, reminded participants that “there are a large number of orientations and challenges needed for the progress of railways in the long term. If only two items should be mentioned, I would say: firstly, migration of radio-communication to the newest technologies of mobile radio. In this context, using the commercial radio-com technology in the railway domain becomes an obvious need, with the respect of reliability, availability and security of open networks. Secondly, migration of control-command and signalling technologies towards the autonomous trains’ location based on satellite navigation and use of IT for “intelligent” trains.
He added: “With its fundamental values, UIC shall bring: Unity of the railways around the converging requirements of the future systems, Solidarity when federating best practice, valuable experience, progressive applications and application of research results and Universality when providing the railways with the strength to face a globalised world of technology development and supply. And “UIC is proposing to build a Global Panel of Telecom Experts, on the model of the Panel existing today in Europe, to share experience, benefits and prepare together "life after GSM-R, in a vision of GLOBAL CONVERGENCE”.
Different UIC experts delivered speeches as part of the several sessions dealing with the conference topics, such as George Barbu, UIC Expert on Global Signalling, who moderated various sessions, Dan Mandoc, UIC ERIG Chairman, GSM-R Project Manager, who participated in a Round Table on CCS and Telecom opportunities to join for overall performance and migration of modern train control and traffic management systems, or Piero Petruccioli, Senior Advisor, Rail System, who chaired a session on “Requirements for new technologies of train positioning and train detection”.
“Declaration of Delhi”
The conference ended with conclusions drawn from the conference sessions and discussions, with a conference message addressed to the specialists and industry to strengthen the cooperation and lead a common way based on converging needs and requirements.
Introduced by Vincent Vu, UIC Director of Institutional Relations and Coordination of UIC Asia-Pacific, the participants, following their free exchange of information and experience, declared that:
- Convergence of core requirements of the signalling, train control and telecom systems becomes the unique opportunity to shape the railway system of tomorrow
- Supporting the convergence, the synergy and the application of leading technologies will make possible to:
- Strengthen the position of the railways in light of the challenges of globalisation of technology and supply;
- Increase the efficiency, safety and impact of railways in global transport;
- Create a long term partnership with the manufacturing industry to ensure the systems’ efficient supply, migration, and renewal;
- The participants expressed their commitment to continue working within a global panel to achieve full convergence for the benefit of the railways of tomorrow.
The conclusions also gave participants the opportunity to express the need to continue to act for greater convergence as well as the need to manage other initiatives and involvements that UIC, as a technical platform, is still not coordinating in terms of organisation, maintenance and technology change management.
UIC would like to thank Indian Railways again for their commitment and support.
For more information please contact George Barbu, UIC Expert on global signalling: firstname.lastname@example.org and Dan Mandoc, UIC Expert on Telecoms: email@example.com
For the proceedings and list of participants, please contact Béatrice Ségéral: firstname.lastname@example.org