Published on November 30, 2016
1. Railway Gazette International | November 2016 31 Brazil LATIN AMERICA Four GE-built AC44i diesel locomotives head a loaded iron ore train on the Steel Railway. Adding capacity on the Steel Railway MRS Logística has completed the installation of communications-based train control on its busy Steel Railway, providing more capacity and flexibility for the operation of iron ore trains as well as improving safety and productivity. JULIO BAPTISTA Regional Operations Manager, São Paulo WILER LUZ Project Manager, CBTC MRS Logística O ver the past couple of years, Brazilian freight operator MRS Logís- tica has been rolling out a communications-based train control system across key parts of its 1 674 route-km network serving the states of Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and São Paulo. While some recently-built railways in the Middle East and Australia have been equipped from new with ETCS Level 2 or satellite-based train control, we believe that MRS is the first freight railway in the world to retrofit its core network with CBTC. Using a dedicated communications network, connected with fail-safe in- terlockings in the field, our main con- trol centre at Juiz de Fora is now able to monitor and manage trains on the important Steel Railway corridor link- ing Belo Horizonte with Barra Man- sa, Santos and Rio de Janeiro. This has provided a significant increase in operational safety, benefitting both staff and local communities. The introduc- tion of CBTC and new operating rules has also boosted capacity while reduc- ing both operations and maintenance costs. Initial objectives When the search for a new control system began, more than a decade ago, MRS set out some core principles that the technology would need to meet.The primary objective was to provide a vital system to ensure safe operation, along with the mechanisms and procedures to mitigate any risk when working in a degraded mode. The other goal was to raise the pro- ductivity of the transport system in order to meet a projected increase in demand, particularly for our core traf- fics of iron ore, steel and cement, which at the time were increasing by 12% a year. CBTC was expected to increase the overall capacity of the network by approximately 10%. At the same time, the new con- trol system would reduce production costs by improving the visibility and predictability of real-time operating conditions. The system would provide users with a history of operating in- formation to support their decision- making processes. And a reduction in the amount of lineside equipment would simplify maintenance and re- duce costs. Continuous monitoring would enable us to collect perfor- mance data and adopt a condition- based maintenance regime. A key factor in developing the pro- gramme was the need to find a work- able migration strategy, starting with a pilot application to prove the basic functionality but allowing rapid in- stallation on the most critical sections of the network as soon as possible. It was also important to allow for the coexistence of two control systems, with trains switching between CBTC and conventional signalling during the commissioning and deployment of con- secutive sections. In 2006 MRS began to develop its own Integrated Operations Automa- tion & Control System (Siaco), with support from Alstom, EADS and Accenture-Atan. This incorporated various elements of ETCS Level 2, and was tested on a 35 km pilot line be- tween Pombal and Guaíba in 2009-10. Unfortunately this Tetra-based system WILER LUZ PROJECT MANAGER, CBTC, MRS LOGÍSTICA‘‘‘MRS has adopted what can be defined as the state of the art in terms of innovation and control technology’
2. 32 November 2016 | Railway Gazette International LATIN AMERICA Brazil did not really meet the requirements of our infrastructure. Following the early trials, MRS Logística went out to tender for the design and installation of communications-based train control across the entire network. After a lengthy bidding process, we awarded a US$165m contract to Wabtec’s signal engineering subsidiary Xorail in March 2011. Wabtec is providing turnkey project management, as well as designing and installing the signal- ling, digital radio communications and train dispatching equipment for the control centre. The project required the fitting of on-board electronics to around 500 locomotives and 50 auxil- iary vehicles. Benchmarking Wabtec is supplying a version of its I-ETMS technology, which has also been adopted by many of the US Class I railroads as the basis of their Positive Train Control projects. Adopt- ing a standard technology has helped to reduce the overall cost, as well as minimising project risk,both during the development phase and over the longer- term operating life cycle. The Operations Control Centre houses a number of integrated sub systems which interface with field equipment at each station,yard or pass- ing loop. The CBTC system monitors operating conditions throughout the network, including train positions and any permanent or temporary speed restrictions. Train positioning is de- termined using a mix of GPS and odometry to provide an exact loca- tion for the lead locomotive within each block section. Train integrity and length are determined using our exist- ing end-of train telemetry system. Operators in the control centre set up routes for each train, and the sys- tem transmits the appropriate move- ment authority to the train’s onboard equipment. The movement authority is displayed on a screen in the locomotive, along with signal aspects and advisory information for the driver including the optimum speed for the section,depend- ing on the type of train. For main line communications we are using a GSM 256 digital radio network as approved by national telecommuni- cations agency Anatel. This provides 20 channels for regular operation.Base sta- tions and repeaters were installed along the route to ensure adequate coverage. In the yard areas,we use a wi-fi network to transmit data between the trains and the transmission tower, which is con- nected to the OCC. The in-cab display gives the driver an overview of the entire section of line ahead, including the gradient profile and the position of other trains poten- tially several km away. This allows the driver to adjust the train speed to avoid conflicts and reach passing places at the most appropriate time, helping to reduce fuel consumption and increas- ing the overall sustainability of the railway. The CBTC incorporates an auto- matic train protection function, which monitors train speed to ensure that the train is running within the limits of its movement authority. In the event of excessive speed, or if the driver fails to react in good time, the system will intervene to cut off traction and apply the service brake, placing the train in a safe condition or bringing it to a halt if necessary. All data from the onboard event re- corders is automatically downloaded in real time for centralised analysis using a wi-fi connection. Whenever a train passes a transmission tower,updates can be sent directly to the locomotive. Implementation yard by yard Following an initial period for de- velopment, a pilot implementation of the CBTC was launched on the Steel Railway in June 2013, between the yard at Coronel Guedes near São Joao del Rei (P1-07) and the passing loop at Capoeira Grande (P1-13). From this first step the system was rolled out to other sections of the line: P1-13 to P2- 06 in December 2013, P1-03 to P1-07 in April 2014 and P2-06 to P2-14 in June 2014 respectively. The following year saw the first roll-out on other parts of the network, with Pombal to Barra do Pirai being commissioned in July 2015 and Barra do Pirai to Guaiba in November. The control centre in Juiz de Fora can now monitor and co-ordinate train operations on the whole of the Steel Railway and connecting routes. The CBTC cab display fitted to AC44i 7243 provides movement authorities and advisory information to the driver.
3. Railway Gazette International | November 2016 33 Brazil LATIN AMERICA Before After A A B C B 9 km C 3 km A significant milestone was achieved on December 4 2015, when the CBTC was implemented in the state of Rio de Janeiro as far as the yard at Brisamar, completing the con- version of the main iron ore corridor from mine to port. CBTC has now been installed on the whole of the Steel Railway and its connecting routes in Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and is performing very well. The next step will be to roll out the system to other parts of the net- work, notably the Coast Side Opera- tion in São Paulo, which handles gen- eral freight. CBTC deployment required close co-ordination between the different departments within the company, and good teamwork was essential. For ex- ample, equipping the major yard at Barra do Pirai —which is the largest junction on the network and a strategic hub for train movements in all three states — required close integration. Several teams, including maintenance, yards and terminals, train operation and the control centre, were involved in the planning and execution of the CBTC installation. Everything went to plan and we were able to cut over to the new signalling without any impact on production. Delivering the benefits The introduction of CBTC has al- ready brought some significant opera- tional benefits. One of the biggest is an increase in line capacity. Rather than authorising trains to run from one sta- tion to the next, typically 9 km apart, movement authorities can be issued in dynamic blocks as short as 1 km, allow- ing trains to follow each other on short- er headways. This allows much greater fluidity in the operation of the network. Lineside signals have been retained at 3 km intervals, providing a back-up in case of any problem with the CBTC. These are approach lit, and only illumi- nate when a train occupies the relevant block section. Within the control centre, the work- flow can be optimised at a system level. Instead of executing 200 commands to authorise a train movement, a route can be set up with just two clicks.As the train graphs are no longer prepared manually,it is possible to plan routes in advance, and then activate them as required. In con- junction with the CBTC, we have been able to introduce a more integrated op- erations management process,embracing staff, fleet and terminals management, maintenance and customer relations. As well as the safety benefits of con- tinuous ATP, the new digital radio net- work provides vastly better coverage, eliminating 80% of the former ‘shadow zones’ caused by tunnels or mountain- ous areas. Voice communications have also improved, thanks to a 90% reduc- tion in static noise levels. Early estimates suggest that the reli- ability of the signalling and control sys- tems has improved by at least 20%. n Fig 1. Fixed signals have been provided to divide the single line sections into 3 km blocks, although the CBTC permits even shorter headways. 1km DYNAMIC BLOCKS ENABLE TRAINS TO RUN ON SHORTER HEADWAYS FOLLOWING THE INTRODUCTION OF CBTC