TST is the first company to introduce CBTC (communication-based train control) system into China’s urban rail transit industry. Wuhan Metro Line 1 delivered by TST is the first CBTC line in China. After more than ten years of development, CBTC has become the mainstream signaling system for urban rail transit in China. At the same time, China’s rapidly developing urban rail transit industry has also put forward new requirements for signaling systems. To meet the special requirements of urban rail transit for signaling systems at present and in the future, TST has independently developed CBTC signaling system version 2.0 – TSTCBTC® 2.0. It is a CBTC system specially designed and developed for the needs of China’s urban rail transit market. To understand the technical development direction of the next-generation CBTC system, our associate editor Zhang Yong had a special interview with Liu Huiming, Chief Engineer of TST at Beijing International Urban Rail Transit Exhibition.
Group photo of TST Chief Engineer Liu Huiming (right) and Zhang Yong, Associate Editor of Urban Mass Transit (left)
Zhang: As TSTCBTC® 2.0 is the result of TST’s R&D idea of “comprehensive introduction of core technology + independent innovation with a high starting point”, could you explain the connotation of this idea?
Liu: TST established the R&D idea of “comprehensive introduction of core technology + independent innovation with a high starting point” when designing the next-generation CBTC signaling system: conducting targeted independent innovation on the basis of introduction, digestion and absorption, and considering the special needs of the Chinese market. TSTCBTC® 2.0 features the first “dual CBTC” redundancy system architecture in China. The system backs up a CBTC system with another CBTC system to maximize system availability. It adopts the unique interlocking train control integration design. While improving system efficiency and guaranteeing high system scalability, it can effectively avoid the impact of signaling system failure on operation. It also simplifies traditional backup system equipment and can save some or all of the outdoor equipment such as axle counters, signals and related cables, thus effectively reducing construction costs and operating costs. TSTCBTC® 2.0 meets the requirements for high availability and reliability in urban rail transit operation in China, and takes into account the future development needs of urban rail transit market. Therefore, it not only is a CBTC system designed and developed to meet the special requirements of urban rail transit market in China, but also represents the technical development direction of the next-generation CBTC system.
Zhang: TSTCBTC® 2.0 has been successfully applied to Shanghai Metro Line 5. Would you please analyze the special requirements of China’s urban rail transit market for signaling systems and the technical advantages of TSTCBTC® 2.0 with specific application cases?
Liu: Shanghai Metro Line 5 includes China’s first urban rail transit signaling system transformation project which was operated, transformed and built simultaneously. The particularity of the line fully verifies the high availability and reliability of TSTCBTC®2.0, and the system performance of TSTCBTC® 2.0 and the project implementation capability of the TST project team are highly recognized by the project owner. Different from signaling implementation projects for new lines, the transformation of existing signaling systems faces many challenges, and the technical solutions for transformation vary depending on city scale, passenger flow pressure and technical standards. The practice of Shanghai Metro Line 5 proves that TSTCBTC® 2.0 can successfully resolve the pain points and difficulties of the transformation of existing signaling systems, and its unique technical advantages can effectively improve the operational efficiency and safety of the line.
In terms of safety, TSTCBTC® 2.0 project was approved in January 2012, and won the system-wide platform-level SIL4 certificate in February 2015. So far, the system has obtained dual product certification by BV and TUV SUD, and project implementation certification by CRCC. Besides, under the premise of ensuring that system development meets the highest safety standards, the traditional backup system is eliminated, which reduces the safety risks caused by backup conversion and further improves safety. In terms of efficiency, while the system redundancy is increased, the system availability is also greatly improved, so that failure at a single point or even multiple points of the system won’t affect the normal operation of the metro. For passengers and operators, the failure is “imperceptible”. In addition, TSTCBTC® 2.0 adopts genuine moving block technology, so it can realize the highest departure frequency, the highest speed, and the maximum efficiency of infrastructure such as lines.
Zhang: You delivered a keynote speech titled “TST’s independently developed signaling system serves fully automatic operation” at the exhibition forum. Please summarize the advantages of TSTCBTC® 2.0 in the emerging FAO field.
Liu: In recent years, FAO has gradually become a hot topic in urban rail transit market in China, and more and more cities are planning FAO lines. Early in 1986, Thales built the world’s first driverless line. So far, more than 30 lines in the world have adopted the driverless mode. China boasts the world’s largest urban rail transit network, and will have the largest number of FAO lines in the world in the future. TSTCBTC® 2.0 is an ideal signaling system solution to meet the needs of China’s urban rail transit FAO lines.
High-availability systems are the technical foundation of FAO, and can maximize the normal system operation and improve system safety and availability. TST’s independently developed TSTCBTC® 2.0 system adopts “dual CBTC” architecture and interlocking train control integration design, which can optimize the interface performance of interlocking train control, shorten the response time of the system, provide higher availability and rich and flexible operational support, and facilitate efficient train control. The “vehicle-oriented” design facilitates high-level DTO/UTO functionality. TSTCBTC® 2.0 supports different levels of train FAO requirements, and can achieve the highest FAO level, covering the entire line area including mainline, vehicle depot and test line. Shanghai Metro Line 5 has achieved GOA3 level FAO, while Shanghai Metro Line 14, which also adopts TSTCBTC® 2.0 and will start operation in 2020, can achieve the highest GOA4 level FAO.
Zhang: The development and application of FAO technology is on the rise. What are the independent innovations of TST in FAO field in the future?
Liu: We have always believed that the development of urban rail transit signaling system is driven by both customer demands and technology development, and the same is true in the field of urban rail transit FAO. Based on customer demands, new technologies are used to enhance safety and efficiency, reduce costs, and improve operational quality. At present, unmanned driving in the auto industry is developing rapidly. New sensors and new technologies such as image recognition and AI have made astonishing progress. The future development direction of urban rail transit FAO also relies on new informatization and intelligentization technologies to achieve operational autonomization and intelligentization. TST will leverage China’s world-leading technologies in auto unmanned driving and AI, and cooperate with local companies in related fields to carry out technical verification and project demonstration in the autonomization and intelligentization of urban rail transit FAO. TST is committed to becoming a pioneer in China’s urban rail transit FAO field.