Carajas Railway upgrades train control

Carajas Railway upgrades train control – Signalling

BRAZIL’s Carajas Railway (EFC), an 892km 1600mm-gauge heavy-haul line owned by mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Dote (CVRD), opened its new $US 10 million central command post (CCP) last month in Sao Luis. EFC is also installing a communications-based train control system (CBTC).

The CCP was designed by railway personnel and developed by Modular Mining Systems, United States. It was demonstrated to the Federal Railroad Administration in Dallas, United States, prior to installation in Brazil.

The CCP provides train controllers with a view of the entire line. Computers in stalled ha the locomotives give drivers a clear view of the section of line being traversed. The driver knows track occupancy and the status of signals up to two passing loops ahead or one passing loop ahead and one behind–there are 48 passing loops on the line. Previously, drivers had to slow down as they approached each yard area until they could see a green signal. Approaching curves and gradients are also displayed in the cab allowing the driver to optimise operation. The CCP uses much off-the-shelf technology based on Unix and Windows.

Alstom is supplying the CBTC. Digital radio will transmit signals and data enabling EFC to eliminate unreliable track circuits. Transponders have already been fitted on all mainline tracks and GPS supplied by Modular Mining Systems has been installed in every locomotive.

A new generation of automatic train control (ATC) will be procured. Besides ATC’s traditional function of stopping a train in an emergency, the new system will keep all trains in permanent contact with the CCP and enable the CCP to monitor the performance of trains.

The next stage will enable trains to be rescheduled as often as necessary every time there is an interruption or an event that may have an impact on normal scheduled trains, a job that is done manually at present. Train rescheduling will then be done every lime interference in the schedules occurs, and will be made far more accurately, Testing for this stage should begin in 2004.

The new train control equipment is needed to cope with a huge increase in traffic, mainly iron-ore, on EFC’s single-track main line, which is expected to reach 75 million net tonnes next year, compared with the all-time record of 57 million tonnes last year.

EFC has ordered 22 secondhand GE Dash 9 locomotives from Brazil Railways (BF), nine of which have been delivered, plus 1000 freight wagons. EFC is also adding seven extra passing loops. A third wagon-dumper and a third pier at the port of Ponta da Madeira will be completed in February. This will enable EFC to increase the number of iron-ore trains from eight to 12 a day in each direction. Each train will have 240 wagons, each with a gross weight of 120 tonnes.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation

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