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ITCS

Incremental Train Control System


On Amtrak’s Michigan Line
WHAT IS ITCS?
• ITCS is a vital wireless train control system
– Applied as an overlay to the existing signal system (CTC)

• ITCS Features
– Positive stop enforcement at fixed signals
– Enforcement of MAS/permanent speed restrictions
– Enforcement of temporary speed restrictions
– Advance start of highway crossing warning devices
– Location determination system blends dual differential
GPS & the tachometer
Michigan Territory Overview

Kalamazoo
MP
150

MP150 - 195
ITCS Territory
Limits
n
t io
ra
pe
O
in
CS
MP
195
IT
MP
216

Niles

MP 195-216
ITCS Installed but not yet
operational
How ITCS Works in Michigan
• The fixed signal system (CTC) is the foundation
• ITCS servers, Train-to-Wayside Link (TWC),
communicate to wayside devices & route data to trains
– VHLC vital processor with special software, MCP ATCS
Radio communications and GPS
• ITCS Wayside Interface Units (WIU) monitor signals &
crossings
– Standard VHLC equipment
– MDS Spread Spectrum Radios send vital data between
WIUs and Train-to-Wayside (TWC) servers
• ITCS Onboard Processor (OBC) – all onboard processing,
GPS & communications
– Database is loaded prior to departure (departure test)
– Database is verified en-route via TWC approaching every
server (5 -7 miles apart),
How ITCS Works in Michigan (cont’d)
• Advance start of crossings
– As train approaches crossing it establishes communication
with nearest server
– Server notifies crossing when to activate warning devices
– Crossing notifies server via vital link that warning devices
will activate at prescribed time
– Server allows train to continue at MAS
– If train does not get notice that crossing is activated, train
speed must be reduced to default speed (normally 79 mph)
ITCS Michigan Line Overview

Dispatch Center
GPS
Satellites
GPS differential
correction, Temporary
Slow Orders and
Wayside Status Office to
Messages to Train Wayside
Link
(OWL) for
Temp.
ITCS Server Slow
WIU Location Location orders
ITCS Michigan Line Overview
Servers collect wayside data, and MCP Radio Antenna
talk to the trains (Talk to Train)
ITCS Server Hardware

GPS Antennas

ITCS RBC/Server

ITCS Server housed in MDS Spread


existing infrastructure Spectrum Radio
or small add-on boxes
(Talk to Wayside)

GPS
Receivers

11 ITCS servers installed in Michigan MCP Radio


(Talk to Train)
ITCS Michigan Line Display
– LEDs - Mode, Overspeed, Penalty
– Speed Limit, Actual Speed

– Target Window
• Target Speed, Time to
Penalty
• Distance to Target

– Target Type
ITCS Display in the Cab

– Information Window
• Milepost
• Loco Type, Train Type
Approaching a Stop Signal
– Speed Limit
• 110 MPH
– Current Speed
• 86 MPH
– Stop Signal
• Target Speed = 0
– Time To Penalty
• 25 seconds to BEGIN
applying the brakes
– Distance to Target
• 11060 feet to signal
– Home Signal
• HOMESIG
– Train Location
• MP 181.5
– Train Type
• F40 Locomotive, Passenger
Train
Why ITCS on the Michigan Line?

• Chicago to Detroit identified as a potential high-speed


corridor
• Michigan DOT wanted high-speed passenger service (110
MPH)
• FRA requires in-cab signaling/enforcement for speeds
above 79 MPH
• Conventional cab signaling would have worked however:
– Would not include permanent and temporary speed
enforcement
– Would not include positive stop enforcement
– Crossing approaches would have to be extended for higher
speeds
Why ITCS on the Michigan Line?
(cont’d)
• ITCS was conceived to:
– More cost-effectively implement cab signaling
• Enforces speeds associated with existing wayside
signal aspects
– Pre-start grade crossings over the radio network
• Also helps prevent short warning times because of loss
of shunt due to rusty rail
– Deliver and enforce speed restrictions (permanent &
temporary)
– Increase speeds to 110 mph without redesigning the signal
system
ITCS Background

• 1995 - FRA grant awarded to Michigan DOT, Harmon


(now GETS) and Amtrak for PTC demonstration project

• Oct. 1996 – 100 MPH demo, signal 175 to signal 195

• March 2000 – In service (display only) without enforcement

• April 2001 – Enforcement @ 79 MPH

• Jan. 2002 – Revenue service @ 90 MPH

• Sept. 2005 Revenue service @ 95 MPH


Problems Encountered

• Problem #1: Excessive errors in synchronous WLAN


caused too many train delays
• Solution: WLAN was changed out to new MDS
asynchronous radios
• Result: Wayside communication errors greatly reduced;
performance greatly improved

• Problem #2: Spotty TWC coverage causing too many


miscommunications between servers and trains
• Solution: Redesign of TWC system
– Obsolete MCP radios will be replaced
– Coverage will be improved by going from 900 MHz
system to 220 MHz system
– Radios will be networked for better connectivity
Problems Encountered (cont’d)

• Advantage of proposed network:


– Any train can communicate with any server via the
network, a direct line-of-site connection is not required
– RF holes can be eliminated w/o relocating servers or
modifying territory boundaries
– Servers and TWC radios do not have to be co-located
– New wayside and locomotive radios will be SNMP
enabled for better management and diagnostics
• Must be completed before speeds are increased to 110 MPH
• Target completion is by the end of 2007
Present Status

• V&V effort continues


– WIUs are complete
– VHLC servers are complete
– Location processor complete
– Host processor undergoing upgrade by GETS
• New hardware to be installed on locomotives June ’07
• V&V completed by GETS Aug. ’07
• Third party review of V&V completed by Oct. ’07
• Design and replacement of TWC network
– Still in legal and procurement
– Projected to be complete by end of 2007
• Projected revenue service date @ 110 MPH is early 2008
PRESENT STATUS

NS Michigan Line DET

Amtrak BTL
Michigan Line
KAL (143.4)

(150.4) Signal 150 CP147 (147.1)


ITCS Revenue Service
45 Miles Main Track
NLS (191.9) 4 Controlled Sidings
Signal 195 (195.6) 95 MPH

CP 213 (213.9) ITCS Installed


21 Miles Main Track
Signal 216 (216.1)
2 Controlled Sidings
Porter CP 482 (240.7) ITCS Total
66 Miles Main Track
NS Chicago Line 6 Controlled Sidings
CHI
8
RF coverage required by a single
RBC
RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3
RF coverage can have path fades

RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

ITCS mitigates occasional RF path fades


Some RF path fades can cover wide
areas
RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

If the RF path fade is excessive, the system


restricts traffic to a fail safe condition – in this
case restricting entry into server 2 territory. RBC 1
is in coverage of the train. But it doesn’t have a
data path to RBC 2
Networked radio system

RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

Coverage
Overlap

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

Wide Area Network

With the base radios connected to a network, any


radio within coverage of the train can pass the
packet to and from the addressed RBC. Radios
cover a smaller area and provide some overlap
Permanent RF path fades – buildings, trees,
etc.
RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

Permanent fade

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

Wide Area Network

Sometimes coverage RF changes causing a large


RF coverage gap – land fill in Michigan
We can insert a radio into the network
anywhere
RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

Wide Area Network

We can add a base station to fill in the coverage


gaps
Additional benefits of the networked
system
RBC 1 TERITORRY RBC 2 TERITORRY RBC 3 TERITORRY

RBC RBC RBC


1 2 3

Wide Area Network

Network Management System for all radios, routers, etc.


Simplified diagnostic interface for RBCs, etc.
WAN can be any IP based system, Fiber, Microwave, HDSL, etc.
WIUs can be connected via the WAN