In the first week of July a meeting of the Sector Expert Team 8 (SET8) of the Rolling Stock Sector within the Rail System Forum took place in Beijing.
SET 8 is in charge of “Data communication between vehicles, software and diagnostics” and is responsible for some important leaflets such as UIC 556 – Information transmission in the train (train-bus), 558 Remote control and data cable – Standard technical features for the equipping of RIC coaches, 647 Functional model for the remote control of traction units and 648 Electrical and pneumatic cables-couplers.
The Team Leader of SET 8 is Ms Zhao Hongwei, who is a researcher and at the same time head of the Train Control and Monitoring System unit and laboratory at CARS (China Academy of Railway Sciences), under CRC China Railway Corporation (Ministry of Transport) that was represented by its Deputy Director Mr Huo Baoshi.
One of the major tasks currently on the agenda of the meeting was to finalise the updating of UIC leaflet 557 – Diagnostics on passenger rolling stock. The project to revise this standard, of which an old 2nd edition dated 1.1.98 exists, was originally proposed by the Chinese colleagues, and is particularly relevant due the need to improve the maintenance process of rolling stock and consequently increase the competitiveness of the railway transport.
During the meeting, for which a conference call to Europe was also available, it was possible to include the comments received by the participants on the structure of the leaflets that, from a general point of view, deals with the system architecture, the definition of train failures and the diagnostic methods, while, from a functional and purely technical point of view, specifies the elementary requirements of diagnostics, the data transfer and their interfaces.
Particular attention was paid to the synthesis of diagnostic information as a fundamental constituent of the rolling Stock RAMS parameters (Reliability Availability Maintainability Safety) and as a valuable asset to continuously improve the service.
The group led by Ms Zhao is also working on the updating of leaflets 559 Diagnostic Data Transmission from railway vehicles, 556 and on the TCMS project to describe and standardise the human functional interfaces to passenger trains, also taking into account their integration and testing.
During the meeting the group had the possibility to benefit from a technical visit to the China Academy of Railway Sciences in Beijing that is the only comprehensive research institute with multi-disciplines and multi-specialties in the Chinese railway domain. In 2002, CARS was transformed from a state-owned institute to an enterprise under the direct control of CRC.
Grounded in the main field of railway modernisation for the last 60 years since its foundation, CARS has tackled considerable important and critical technological problems and has conducted a great deal of experimental studies focusing on railway construction and transportation.
The visit was led by the Vice-Director Mr Gan Dunwen with special focus on the Locomotive & Car Research Institute, one of the most important of the academy, which covers all domains finalised to the research, design and all phases rolling stock life.
The specialities of the institute range from all mechanical fields to traction, maintenance theory, supervision and quality, so allowing the development of High Speed EMUs as well as Heavy Locomotives and complete multipurpose test trains running at 400 km/h at inspection speed.
By applying IT and other modern science and technologies, CARS has developed safety inspection systems and safety management systems for safety supervision and management of disaster prevention, while the research makes use of many simulation calculations and other advanced tools.
The visit ended in Ms Zhao Hongwei’s TCMS laboratory, where the control and logic hardware of different trains was in operation for development and commissioning purposes; in this way it is possible to extensively use Hardware in the Loop (HIL) techniques to design and verify the functionalities and the performances of the on board rolling stock systems (traction, brake, diagnostics, doors, air conditioning, etc.).
The facilities of this laboratory also offer an opportunity to improve the specifications of the train control systems that supervise all functions of a train.