High-availability TSTCBTC® 2.0 Independently Developed by TST

RT Rail Transit

July 29, 2019


Shanghai Metro Line 5 is China’s first metro line which was operated, built and transformed simultaneously. The signal transformation of the existing section and the south extension of Shanghai Metro Line 5 adopts TSTCBTC® 2.0, China’s first next-generation urban rail transit signaling system developed by TST.


The system has a unique dual CBTC architecture with a design concept of high availability and reliability, which enhances the safety and efficiency of urban rail operation and reduces operating costs throughout the life cycle. Ms. Zheng Lanying, Editor-in-Chief of RT Rail Transit, had a special interview with Liu Huiming, Chief Engineer of TST on July 26, 2019 at Beijing International Urban Rail Transit Exhibition.


Zheng: According to public information, TSTCBTC® 2.0 signaling system is a product independently developed by TST, as the result of “comprehensive introduction of core technology + independent innovation with a high starting point” of the SeltracTM CBTC signaling system of Thales Group in France. Can you share the milestones of system development with us?

Liu: TSTCBTC® 2.0 project was approved in January 2012. Under the joint efforts of all developers of TST, the project won the system-wide platform-level SIL4 certificate in February 2015. Then in October of the same year, the field test and demonstration were carried out. In September 2016, TST started the implementation of TSTCBTC® 2.0 project in Shanghai Metro Line 5.

In October 2018, the seamless cutover of the old and new signaling systems of the existing line was completed without affecting the normal operation of the line. The signaling system project of the south extension of Shanghai Metro Line 5 was carried out simultaneously. At the end of December 2018, the south extension of Shanghai Metro Line 5 which adopted TSTCBTC® 2.0 was connected with the existing line and entered revenue service.


Zheng: What are the independent innovation measures for TSTCBTC® 2.0 signaling system to adapt to the needs of local customers?

Liu: The design of TSTCBTC® 2.0 paid more attention to the needs of the Chinese market and customers. It is the first dual redundancy CBTC system in China. Based on the proven system advantages of SeltracTM CBTC (true moving block, bi-directional ATP/ATO, and rich and flexible operational support), the system backs up a CBTC system with another CBTC system to maximize system availability.

TSTCBTC® 2.0’s unique interlocking train control integration supports interlocking and ATP functions, providing maximum efficiency and high system scalability. Therefore, the operation won’t be affected by system failure, thus ensuring operational efficiency and supporting high throughput. In addition, the dual CBTC system simplifies traditional backup system equipment, and customers can save most or all of the outdoor equipment such as axle counters, signals and related cables, thus reducing the customer’s operating costs.

Zheng: You delivered a speech titled “TST’s independently developed signaling system serves fully automatic operation” on the exhibition forum, mentioning the high availability and simplification of TSTCBTC® 2.0. From what aspects has the system improved the train control system?


Liu: The eternal goal of the train control system is to ensure safety and continuously improve efficiency. TSTCBTC® 2.0 developed by TST has greatly improved the safety and efficiency of trains in the following aspects:

  • Safety: Under the premise of ensuring that system development complies with the highest safety standards, the traditional backup system design is eliminated, which reduces the safety risks caused by backup conversion and further improves safety. The system has obtained dual product certification by BV and TUV SUD, and project implementation certification by CRCC.
  • 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 ensure the highest departure frequency, the highest speed, and the maximum efficiency of infrastructure such as lines.

Zheng: Currently, driverless operation or fully automatic operation (FAO) is on the rise. What are the advantages of TSTCBTC® 2.0 in the FAO field?


 Liu: In recent years, FAO has gradually become a hot topic in urban rail transit industry 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, and maintained zero safety accident. 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.

The FAO technology for the Chinese market needs to meet the requirements such as high departure frequency, short headway, high safety, high stability, smooth and energy-saving operation, and large carrying capacity. The high-availability TSTCBTC® 2.0 system independently developed by TST adopts the interlocking ATP integration design to optimize the interface performance of interlocking train control, shorten the response time of the system, and help realize efficient train control. The vehicle-oriented design facilitates high-level DTO/UTO functionality. 

TSTCBTC® 2.0 supports different levels of train automatic operation 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 driverless operation, while Shanghai Metro Line 14, which will start operation in 2020, can achieve the highest GOA4 level driverless operation.

Zheng: Will TST have more independent innovations in FAO in the future?

Liu: We have always believed that the development of signaling systems is driven by both customer requirements and technology development, and systems adopting new technologies aim to continuously improve operational quality by achieving higher safety, efficiency and cost optimization. The same is true in the metro FAO field. At present, unmanned driving in the auto industry is developing rapidly, and technologies such as new sensors, image recognition and AI have made astonishing progress. In view of the maturity of these new technologies, autonomization and intelligentization will become the future development direction of metro FAO.

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 metro FAO. TST is committed to becoming a pioneer in China’s urban rail transit FAO field, helping China’s urban rail to develop in a high-quality and innovative manner.


Group photo of TST Chief Engineer Liu Huiming (left) and RT Rail Transit Editor-in-Chief Zheng Lanying (right)