Increasing capacity of existing suburban lines by implementing new technology

Suburban railway lines in Australian cities are quickly approaching their capacity limits, in particular the main lines through the city centres. While new lines are being planned, maximising the existing infrastructure’s capacity can provide short-term relief. The capacity of a suburban line depends on several factors including timetable, dwell times, train control, signalling, alignment and rolling stock. New technologies in signalling and rolling stock are being implemented around the world and are increasingly being considered in Australia. Prior to introducing new technology to increase capacity, it is critical to understand the unique constraints and bottlenecks of the system. Some suburban lines have constraints such as low line speed and narrow platforms, which can not be easily remedied. Developments in signalling technology for suburban lines currently focus on the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1 and Level 2, moving block signalling for metro lines and automatic train operation. ETCS Level 2 introduces the transmission of movement authorities by radio and in-cab display instead of lineside signals. The removal of lineside signals allows for greater flexibility in installing block sections and the use of very short block sections, and can thus increase line capacity. To analyse the impacts of new technology, operational modelling is used as a tool to simulate the existing and new system configurations. The impacts on capacity and reliability from new technology can then be assessed. A risk in implementing new technology is that no local standards will be available or existing standards may need to be challenged to exploit the benefits of new technology. Implementing new technology in parallel with operating the existing railway is a significant task. However, if new technology can increase the capacity of existing tracks, the large expense of constructing new lines could be deferred for many years.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 9p. ; PDF
  • Monograph Title: Rail - the core of integrated transport: CORE 2012: conference on railway engineering, 7-10 September 2012, Perth, Western Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01532134
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 29 2014 11:57AM