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Kochi Metro: Hi-tech Signal System for Better Capacity, Safety

Signalling work for the Kochi Metro Rail will commence next week. According to Metro Rail authorities, the signalling system will feature the advanced Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system.

Published: 12th March 2016 07:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2016 07:26 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: The specialities of Kochi Metro Rail do not end with its state-of-the-art ‘Make in India’ coaches.

According to KMRL authorities, the Metro will be operating on the ultra-modern Communication-based Train Control (CBTC)signalling system, which has a clear edge over the traditional fixed-block system.

Alstom, which had already bagged contract for the signalling system for `275 crore, is likely to begin work next week on tracks where electrification work has completed.

Also, Metro authorities said work on the Operation Control Centre (OCC) would begin by month end. In India, the Hyderabad Metro Rail is the only other metro to use the CBTC system. Considering the fast progress of the Kochi Metro, probably it would be the first Metro project in the country to claim train control by the CBTC. The other proposed metro rail projects in the country, including phase-II of the Delhi Metro, will also have this technology.

Conventional System vs CBTC

In the traditional fixed-block system, the signalling system works within the track circuit - the length of the track where the occupancy of the train is detected. The entire track is divided into blocks, on the basis of a predetermined length, and each block is protected with the signal system to prevent trains from entering the occupied blocks.   As the length of the blocks are already fixed, multiple train movement will not be possible in any block, which limits the frequency of train service to some extend.   On the other hand, in the moving-block CBTC system, the protected section for each train will not be statically defined by block sections, but by operating a virtual moving block. Besides, the trains themselves will communicate their exact position to Radio Access Points through a bi-directional wireless link, which will be transmitted to the station centre and the OCC. The major advantage of the CBTC is that it increases capacity and safety by reducing the time interval (headway) between trains moving along a particular track. The CBTC will help trains run with a headway of 90 seconds, which will help tackle peak-hour rush.  In the traditional system, it is the driver who monitors the signal system. In the CBTC, meanwhile, the entire operations can be controlled automatically from the OCC. This will make it possible for Kochi Metro trains to travel without driver.

CBTC to attain Momentum

The CBTC will help trains run with a headway of 90 seconds, which will help tackle peak-hour rush.  In the traditional system, it is the driver who monitors the signal system. In the CBTC, meanwhile, the entire operations can be controlled automatically from the OCC.  This will make it possible for Kochi Metro trains to travel without driver.

Advantages of CBTC

■ Increases train frequency during peak hours

■ Lower maintenance cost compared to the traditional

signalling system

■ More reliable than the conventional system

■ Lower recurring expenditure

■ Comparatively cost-effective

■ The dedicated signalling network keeps

hawkers at bay

■ Helps maintain accurate dwell time (time for stopping and starting at stations)



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