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Automatic Train Control (ATC)

Automatic control system of the train is running, it is the technological and functional evolution of the Automatic Train Protection (ATP). ATC is, in conceptual line, the set of equipment and functionality called ETCS (European Train Control System, S.) in the context of ERTMS (European Rail train control system). is designed to protect the train running against certain constraints and rules like: own the rolling stock characteristics, vehicle speed, brake mass percentage; characteristics of the track line section, level indicator, speed side; temporary speed restrictions, slowing down; distancing trains, abnormalities or details of the signaling systems. It provides onboard continuous information on the maximum permissible speed, taking off the ground continuously and discontinuously relevant information concerning the freedom of the road, the various physical route as well as other variable elements. In the event of overrun of the maximum speed of the train, the ATC conducts adjustment of the speed in order to bring it back to the allowed values, operand, if necessary, also the emergency braking. The maximum speed is defined by the result of some calculations that take into account all the different parameters affecting the running of the train: line characteristics and features of the train itself. The maximum permissible speed at all times is processed on board the rolling stock; this implies the need for an exchange, continuous and precise, between ground and onboard, of all the information necessary to calculate the same speed: speed of the line; gradient; speed deviated; deceleration speed; existing space of security. There are three levels of the ATC system application. The first level includes the installation of: – Balise or Boe (S.) interfaced via Encoder, with existing signals to transmit their appearance, – Balise not interfaced to the track information, slowing down, input or output in ATC equipped areas, etc. with the possibility of the Loop for additional information; – Onboard sensors of Balise and Loop; – MMI  for man-machine interface and an onboard logic to the set of functions that the ATC system should play, such as speed control, emergency braking operation, determination of the safety curve, etc. The second level provides, in addition to the features of the first, the installation of radio devices, Radio Block Centre (RBC), both on land and on board, with the function of sending continuous information already preprocessed on the freedom of the way in train downstream the traditional side signaling becomes unnecessary and the Balise provide precise information reference and start / end of the ATC; remain active the track circuits for verifying the integrity of the train. The third level provides for the application on board of the train with integrity verification of a special device (Train Integrity), the presence of  RBC to the ground with a smaller number of Balise, which remain active only as points of reference and to report input and / or the exit from areas with ATC. The ATC system is therefore composed of two main subsystems: the ground and onboard. The data provided by the ground subsystem can be divided into three basic categories: fixed data; semi-fixed data; variable data. The fixed data, permanent, define the intrinsic characteristics of the line: maximum speed gradient of the routes, etc .. The semi-fixed data are of a temporary nature, but do not change the time of the train running, define the speed reduction information related to slowing down established by maintenance personnel. The variable data vary during the train running, depending on the state of traffic and routes in place, they are represented by the appearance of the station or line level signals; identify the breakpoints of a train or the points of a route to go at reduced speed. Information concerning the different types of data are processed by the logic board

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