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crs1026

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Lots on ETCS...so one wonders, that extra 'c'...for 'conventional' signals. Is this a half-assed compromise since the host railways and ML themselves don't wan't to bear the expense of doing this 'properly'?
?

"Doing it properly" means having the right interfaces between CP, CN, and VIA signalling and information systems. Imagine what will happen once ML has its own control center when a westbound VIA train approaches ML territory at Durham Jct. First of all, the signalling systems need to interface in the field so that the correct indications are passed to the CN signalling, which may give multiple blocks' worth of advance indications before the first ML controlled signal. Secondly, the CN RTC's console and supporting information systems already hold data ("tags" is the term) about that train. You want the CN console to pass that data seamlessly into the GO system. You don't want GO's RTC having to key all that data into the GO system every time a VIA train comes into the picture. Similarly, VIA has information needs and you can't have VIA trains disappearing into a void when it hits GO territory.

ML may in fact install pretty nifty new train control on its own lines, but where GO operates into or out of other railways' territory the systems have to accommodate everyone's needs. So yes, it includes conventional system design. Plus, much of the current signalling is close to brand new. Verster is not about to sign a purchase order to tear it all out and install something else. The enhancements will be add-on to what is there in much of the system.

Some lines may stay with what they have for years to come.

- Paul
 

steveintoronto

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"Doing it properly" means having the right interfaces between CP, CN, and VIA signalling and information systems.
ETCS can and does accommodate many other systems in terms of lending to adaptability. It also runs across many disparate systems in differing nations including those using CBTC variants and many other ones. It's used, for example, in Australia.

Perhaps you can explain the differences, and future compatability for ML with "off the shelf" acquisitions designed for ETCS? I can find no explanatory papers or articles on-line for ETCCS, save that it *appears* to be tailored as a compromise to accommodate "conventional" signals.

Is RER going to be run on this, and "conventional signals"? It seems to me that someone had posted a year or so back as to how they were (gist) "miffed" at my claims that the USRC was hampered by older generation signals and no control system, and that stations like Frankfurt did far more throughput with far less tracks, and have done so for half a century, if for no other reason than Union's archaic signalling and control system.

Why do I get the distinct impression that this is (or was) poised to be happening again?

Any references to the papers or technical descriptions on ETCCS most welcome.

Addendum, juggling tags and acronyms, finally found something on ETCCS:

Technical Advisory Services - Metrolinx Enhanced Train Control and Conventional Signalling (ETCCS) Upgrade
Starting January 2017

The Enhanced Train Control and Conventional Signalling (ETCCS) Project contemplates the immunization of the GO Train’s conventional, fixed-block signaling system to the 25kV feed and the deployment of Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) on the GO corridor and on the GO Train fleet, to improve the safety and capacity of the system.
As the technical advisor, Parsons is providing technical expertise to augment the Metrolinx project team over a 10-year period, as they specify, procure and deploy the CBTC and conventional signalling upgrades.

https://ca.linkedin.com/in/dkeevill

"Doing it properly" means having the right interfaces between CP, CN, and VIA signalling and information systems.
I wasn't aware that CP and CN were going to allow catenary on their properties, and VIA new fleet, electrified or not, would ostensibly be equipped for a modern day cab signalling and control system. Or embrace CBTC signalling/control on their tracks, at least in this region.

So what is this for again, and how does it fit with the upcoming RER vehicles? And...errr..."fixed block"???

Does this also affect the steam locos? Or just the horse-drawn ones?
 
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steveintoronto

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RE: ^
From: GO Regional Express Rail Initial Business Case
Appendix A Corridor Specifications
pdf index pg 254:

http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regiona...RER_Initial_Business_Case_Appendix_A-J_EN.pdf

(apologies, managed to install Adobe Reader on this machine, a feat in itself since it's no longer supported for Linux, had to copy as text. Adobe Reader the only one with full pdf file search not found in later versions)(I'm running an alpha OS due to complications from the Spectre 'fix' wiping out my last OS and files.)
H.1 Introduction
Reducing journey times is a key element of the GO RER strategy. Journey
time reduction can be achieved through a multi-faceted strategy and can
include:
• Upgrading the signalling system to a moving block signal system
instead of the current fixed block signal system.
• Track and infrastructure improvements such as increasing the radius of
curves and reducing vertical grades, particularly on approach to grade
separations.
• Modifying operating practices including increasing speed restrictions
where possible.
• Adjusting station spacing to affect train stopping and acceleration
capabilities.
• Reducing level crossings which require trains to stop or slow.
In the latter two cases, in particular, the rate at which a train can accelerate
and decelerate is of significance. While the current GO fleet can achieve
maximum speeds of close to 160 kilometres per hour and the maximum
speed of trains will remain at about 160 kilometres per hour (100 miles per
hour), electric trains and EMUs have much faster acceleration. This means
that they can accelerate up to the maximum speed much more quickly, and
therefore much closer to stations, and for a greater length of the distance
between stations. With diesel locomotives, trains accelerate slowly and do
not always reach even 110 kilometres per hour (70 miles per hour)
between stations.
When peak-only operation is limited to a few trains each day, it is difficult to
justify investment to improve line speeds. With electric locomotive
operation and higher performing EMU operation, constraints such as
curves, track quality and structural limits over older bridges can become
the limiting factors, resulting in overall higher average line speeds and trip
times. With frequent, all-day operation, there can be a commercial case for
investing to remove these constraints.
Line speed is a vital ingredient in achieving greater utilization of rolling
stock and crew. Improved journey times also increase ridership and
revenue and can improve track use by enabling a greater throughput of
traffic on each track. This track speed improvement can be of significant
value over single lines and approaching/through platforms at busy stations
such as Union. Increasing the throughput of trains to significantly improve
the operating efficiency of each platform, whilst simultaneously improving
access/egress and safety, are essential prerequisites of RER in order to
fulfil the capacity requirements at this core location.
Typically, acceleration away from a station stop may be constrained by
switch geometry and other factors such as structures (e.g. Union station)
and passing clearances. Low speed constraints tend to generate the
greatest adverse impact on journey times. Raising the speed from 10 miles
per hour to 20 miles per hour will halve the section run time, while raising it
from 90 miles per hour to 100 miles per hour will have a smaller impact
unless it is achieved over a significant distance.
The infrastructure capability over many of the GO corridors provides
numerous opportunities to explore improvements that could better align the
infrastructure capability with that of a modern electric train.
GO Regional

Note: *The very first point* is
• Upgrading the signalling system to a moving block signal system
instead of the current fixed block signal system.

What's the use in installing an inevitably bug-prone 'custom made' fudge to allow yesterday's systems for tomorrow's trains?

How freakin' Metrolinx can you get? I think Verster will be having a few words on this issue...
 
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steveintoronto

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@mdrejhon @Urban Sky @jenglish

First, a review of a post MD had already resurrected:

mdrejhon, Apr 25, 2016
I was reading articles and came across a gem I missed last month:

Thales Canada to carry out rail signalling solutions project in Ontario

This might also cover VIA HFR, the Ontario HSR, and the new Caisse proposal for Montreal.
(moving order of posts...moving an older post to bottom to try to put things on topic.
Not a repost, this is a full move -- no post of any kind exists in its original location)

There are many variants and brands of CBTC.

Here's the Thales brand:


I would presume there is some kind of connection or hierarchy that will lead to the new GO operations centre at Oakville, probablay being optimized for the future CBTC era. How strongly or tenuously linked, or if it is where the CBTC central computer will be too, we do not know, but it likely would streamline operations to have some process where central can order other trains to do something based on info received from CBTC.

Little things like quicker more-complex games of musical chairs (track reassignments before too late, before passing the last switch) to prevent a bigger delay cascade, more seamlessly get around an unexpected event, or other mudane curveballs that unexpected train problems, emergencies, equipment or infra issues, etc.

Either dispatched manually based on CBTC data and other sources of info, or automatically by a central computer - either situation could occur for specific situations depending on how it is all set up.

I am assuming Metrolinx's 800 million dollar quote for GO-wide CBTC refers to the whole electrified network rather than just the EMU routes? It is a major undertaking. Just look at TTC and New York City Taking more than a decade to install CBTC, and only on one or two lines. CBTC construction is faster on the surface routes, but it is a major undertaking.

It is a megaproject unto itself, and a delay in rolling out a more complex CBTC plan defacto means a big delay in introducing a tight peak-period 4-or-5-minute GO RER headways and 1 train a minute leaving Union (49 trains per hour as documented).

Depending on the plan allowing for it, you could properly plan to stagger CBTC introduction and use it to add trains gradually. This might mean CBTC might continue to deploy well past 2025.

That sets the stage to fill in some blanks since this forum added "ETCCS" as well as ERTMS, the latter being well known, documented and easily researched, into the title. I've been searching intensely to find anything on "ETCCS" and now realize why nothing was showing save the blurb I posted a week ago.

NOVEMBER 2, 2017 BY STEVE (Munro)
Metrolinx Board Meeting Followup: October 26, 2017

Robert Wightman | November 7, 2017 at 11:05 am
7. GO is being converted to Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) which will allow headways between EMUs down to every 2 or 3 minutes. The problem becomes if non CBTC equipped trains also run on the line because the CTC signal spacing requires a much larger block between trains. When GO trains run on CN or CP lines they will need to use the railways CTC signals.
8. Union Station cannot handle the levels of service that CBTC will allow. Fortunately, Verster realizes this and wants to raise the platforms to the level of the accessibility platform throughout the station and remove some tracks and platforms to let the remaining ones be wide enough to handle the level of service.

Mapleson, a question, have you heard anything of the rumour that Metrolinx wants to divide the operating and maintenance contracts on a line by line basis. I don’t know if this is true but if it is it would be total stupidity.

Steve: Re that rumour: I have been unable to get a straight answer from Metrolinx to my query about Verster’s DBFOM comment regarding RER during the scrum at the last Board meeting. I am going to try again.
Bill R | November 7, 2017 at 8:50 pm
This ties into:

Robert Wightman said: 7. GO is being converted to Communications Based Train Control...(see above for full quote)

Is this dilemma solvable? Metrolinx is officially a railroad and owns considerable track. There are sections of CP or CN track that are critical routes for GO trains. Conversely, there are sections of Metrolinx tracks that are critical routes for CP and CN. Are (the extant) rail signals the only signals permitted through the GTA?
Mapleson | November 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm
Bill R said: There is a grandfather clause, in which GO must grant a Railroad access to the Stouffville line, at a mutually agreed time.

You are talking about Running Rights or Freight Trackage Rights. It’s not just Stouffville, but the whole network, and has two parts: scheduled freight deliveries (on a given timetable) and emergency diversions. It was a key reserved right in the federal railroads to divest the lands, and the key reason why GO will always need to be FRA crash compliant, unless there is some large cash investments (infrastructure or buying out the rights) and/or a special FRA-exemption.

Bill R said: The only way GO runs a modern set of signals is if the line is de-commissioned.

Like the TTC, a parallel signal system can be built and then a direct switch from one to the other.

Bill R said: Is this dilemma solvable? Metrolinx is officially a railroad and owns considerable track. There are sections of CP or CN track that are critical routes for GO trains. Conversely, there are sections of Metrolinx tracks that are critical routes for CP and CN. Are rail signals are the only signals permitted through the GTA?

Yes, it’s solvable, but it’s a bottleneck for providing higher service levels. Metrolinx is not a railroad, as that’s a federal classification and Metrolinx is a provincial agency. There are many types of signal systems, but generally, you either run your data through the rails or parallel cables. If the rails are electrified, you can still use them for data transfer, but you need to ‘adjust’ a few things.

Bill R | November 8, 2017 at 9:13 pm
Another question.

Robert Wightman said: 8. Union Station cannot handle the levels of service that CBTC will allow. Fortunately, Verster realizes this and wants to raise the platforms to the level of the accessibility platform throughout the station and remove some tracks and platforms to let the remaining ones be wide enough to handle the level of service.

Notwithstanding the comprehensive explanation of station dwell time that Mapleson generously shared in an earlier post, I’m still interested in the tradeoffs in transit rolling stock. I truly don’t know what to think.

The first issue is how significant is a raised platform versus track level access. I thought it was obvious but was told (by consultants working for Metrolinx) that an extensive study had been conducted on commuter trains and that the difference is insignificant. Commuter trains are ones used to move large numbers of passengers in peak periods, which suggests that the profile of passengers sampled is not a representative sample of transit users (mothers with strollers, wheel chair etc)

Robert Wightman has pointed out that raised platforms interfere with the volume envelope profile for freight trains. Will this be an issue on shared tracks?
Robert Wightman | November 10, 2017 at 11:08 am
Bill R asks: I am concerned about jamming two passenger trains in one block and the lead train slows down. This scheme seems touchy. Is it feasible?

If GO switches to CBTC, then there are no longer fixed blocks to worry about but rather a moving block system as is being installed on TTC’s line 1. The system would automatically keep the second train from getting too close to the first. It does not maintain a fixed distance so much as it maintains a safe stopping distance between trains based on speed. The faster the trains the greater the distance between them.

The only time that it will operate as a fixed block system would be when the CN freight switches the line. Hopefully this would be at night.
Complete analysis of above not necessary, various points being questioned in this UT string are answered (at least to the level of veracity of the authors above).

So the questions as to "what is ETCCS?" remain. It may be superfluous, the real question revolves around Moving Block, PTC (via CBTC) and "conventional signals". Be good to pick Verster's brain some more on these...VIA is also missing mention as to the greater picture.
 
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mdrejhon

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steveintoronto

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That's like GO RER with European style single deck trains running in automatic operation.

I understand will be moving block signalling based, similiar to the signal upgrades on TTC Line 1.
And if the template for most of the Alstom systems is used, it will be a digital form of CBTC controlling both the signalling and PTC. As to what REM decides on will be interesting, and quite possibly set a precedent for Canada.

Verster intimated at this form of vehicle on everything but the 'driverless' operation. More on this as developments become known.
 

ssiguy2

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GO and especially RER should have ATC, no question.Most of the RER system is already or in the process of being grade separated and if Metrolinx focused on removing the grade crossings on the RER sections then this will be a subway/Metro in every sense of the word and that is exactly how it should be presented to the public. A Metro/subway is a grade separated, electric, rail corridor, with frequent all day, each way service and that is EXACTLY what RER will become so why not just tell the public that they will be getting about 200km of new subway lines by 2025?

Right now to most of the public RER is this nebulous concept that few have a real grasp of. For many they view this as nothing more than more frequent GO service and that's it. To many GO RER is even seen as a negative development because they view this money going towards the people who can already afford GO and not to help the needs of the hundreds of thousands who can't. For many Torontonians, RER is just adding insult to injury as they see even more expensive trains flying by them while they wait in the rain & snow for the next packed bus/streetcar to bypass them until they finally get to their subway station and hyperventilate for the next half hour.

With all the new service provided by GO over the last 3 years, the results in increased ridership have been abysmal and that's being very generous. Classifying RER as full subway expansion will get people excited at the prospect and finally see that relief is in sight but as it stands right now most view RER with indifference because they believe that it won't make a hoot of difference to most of them and many with distaste as they view RER as nothing more than an enhancement of 905 service and billions being spent to solidify a two-tiered transit system
 
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Neutrino

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@ssiguy2 Well there's also the issue that GO doesn't work for many commuting patterns because it serves Union primarily. I understand 2WAD RER is a major change to the radial model, but there's also the last mile, which will determine RER's success in my opinion. RER will not reach its full potential unless local bus service vastly improves imho.
 

TheTigerMaster

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Classifying RER as full subway expansion will get people excited at the prospect and finally see that relief is in sight but as it stands right now most view RER with indifference because they believe that it won't make a hoot of difference to most of them and many with distaste as they view RER as nothing more than an enhancement of 905 service and billions being spent to solidify a two-tiered transit system

Trains coming every 15 mins isn't a metro.

I think RER might have been better off with smaller trains that arrive more frequently. This would probably require grade separations and ATO. It won't be exceptionally useful to people in Toronto until we see true metro frequencies.
 

steveintoronto

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Trains coming every 15 mins isn't a metro.

I think RER might have been better off with smaller trains that arrive more frequently. This would probably require grade separations and ATO. It won't be exceptionally useful to people in Toronto until we see true metro frequencies.
Trains coming much sooner than every 15 mins would be the case on some lines. Don't overlook the possibility (and this is already done in Europe and elsewhere) of metro vehicles and LRVs sharing the same track for the inner areas with more demand for frequent service.

London's Crossrail will have a train every two and a half minutes through the core, but less on the various branches feeding into the central tunnel, and some running on a less frequent schedule on the outer branches.

@mdrejhon would especially appreciate the nuance of this, as "ETCCS" is exactly about this:
• Freight movements between Aldershot, Oakville and Clarkson could be
done by CBTC equipped with locos pending suitable arrangements
made with the freight operators to potentially avoid significant costs in
immunizing wayside signals from electrical interference.
A.2.3
Appendix A
Corridor Specifications
GO Regional Express Rail Initial Business Case
 
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crs1026

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I think RER might have been better off with smaller trains that arrive more frequently. This would probably require grade separations and ATO. It won't be exceptionally useful to people in Toronto until we see true metro frequencies.

By the time we get Liberty, St Clair, and Mount Dennis added, the Kitchener line will have a stop about every mile and a half up to Etobicoke West, and all the main east west arterials are tied in. Barrie line will gain Caledonia, Bloor, and Spadina/Bathurst. Mount Joy is getting Lawrence and Finch. That's pretty close to a full network with all the tie-ins we need. LSE will not benefit from more stops, unless the current stops are relocated to tie into north-south arterials better. LSW needs Park Lawn and perhaps a mid-south-Etobicoke stop.

We must be careful not to create an unmarketable situation for the regional network. Yes, electrification will help, but we do not want a milk-train experience that turns off longer distance travellers. We do, after all, want all those jobs downtown and that means providing the peak in-and-out capacity to match them. This has to be win-win, not an appropriation of GO as an intra-416 metro network at the expense of 905 riders.

What concerns me is the potential collision between getting this right and the RFQ/RFP for an operator-equipment provider-builder. "What sort of a system are we bidding on?" "Well, kinda regional rail, kinda metro, whaddya think?" Doesn't give me a warm feeling. I wish they would start the electrification at Union in house or as a single RFQ, then pick a line and do an expedited RER to demonstrate and learn. Then do an RFQ for the others.

Some flavour of ATO is a given, even at existing headways. GO is clearly on that file. Toronto should aspire to not have the kind of events we've seen on Amtrak and MTA. Ten minute headways may be sufficient to fulfil the "metro" component when you consider the overall reduction in travel time and the fact that a modal wait would be five minutes, not too shabby, especially in a sheltered station as opposed to a bus stop on the side of the road. So ATO is needed for safety anyways, headways notwithstanding.

- Paul
 

mdrejhon

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Trains coming every 15 mins isn't a metro.
I think RER might have been better off with smaller trains that arrive more frequently. This would probably require grade separations and ATO. It won't be exceptionally useful to people in Toronto until we see true metro frequencies.
GO RER is expected to (eventually) have some sections of 5 minute frequencies. Basically multiple interspersed 15-minute-service routes will provide either 5-minute or 7.5-minute service to certain stations. Also, peak, will require some really tight headways.

One example is Gerrard Station (because it will be a DRL stop) is expected to service both the 15-minute Lakeshore East route and the 15-minute Stoufville route, creating a situation of 7.5 minute frequency between Union and Gerrard/DRL. This is like the core section of Paris RER-B before the ends spur out. This is metro-like convenience for some urban GO stations.

There may not be able to have ATO right away, but some kind of majorly upgraded metro-quality singalling is needed -- whether GO is a metro or not.
 

steveintoronto

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I've been catching up on prior posts in this string, and this was very prophetic:
mdrejhon, Apr 22, 2016
There's a big splash in the international news today about Montreal's $5.5 billion electrified rail system, of which $3bn is funded by Caisse.
Canadian pension fund Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec said on Friday that it would invest $3 billion in a new public transport network in Montreal, the third largest of its kind in the world.

The network will link downtown Montreal, the South Shore, the West Island, the North Shore and Montreal's airport in a 67 km (41.6 miles) light rail transit system comprising 24 stations which will be operating 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

It's apparently a model like a RER system (ala Paris RER, S-Bahn, GO RER, et cetra) and will involve 3-minute headways.

Reuters are calling it a "light rail transit system".
Globe & Mail is calling it "automated".
But this appears to be a heavy-rail corridor.

It sounds much like electrification & an ETC (CBTC) deployment in heavy rail corridors, as that seems the defacto combo to successfully fit the bolded criteria. For those not keeping up, CBTC (...Communications Based Train Control...) provides provisions for automating trains and shortening headways mentioned.

From earlier, it is one of the suggested Transport Canada conditions for permitting lighter-weight trains in heavy-rail corridors, closer to European structural strength rather than massively overbuilt FRA strength (...Federal Railway Assocation...to those readers not reading previous pages of this thread).

The pressure on Transport Canada just got greater, to come up with new rules in a modern ETC era (PTC/CBTC). With GO, VIA, and now Caisse/Montreal, combined, we've got over $20 billion of projects depending on new Transport Canada rules. And we haven't even included other future projects such as future RER expansions and potential London/Kitchener HSR.

At these budget numbers, we're now already in the stratosphere of more than three order of magnitude of ballparks away from little O-Train style exceptions/exemptions to FRA-derived rules.

I imagine we'll hear new general unified ETC-era guidelines from Transport Canada within this government term, that is applied to all brand new ETC-equipped rail networks Canada-wide..

Whatever Montreal adds to Transport Canada's paperwork pile, no doubt affects Toronto and GO RER too.
 

ssiguy2

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Trains coming every 15 mins isn't a metro.

I think RER might have been better off with smaller trains that arrive more frequently. This would probably require grade separations and ATO. It won't be exceptionally useful to people in Toronto until we see true metro frequencies.

Yes it is a Metro. You have to remember that the lines will be running much more frequently as they converge near the centre of the city. You also have to remember that this 15 minute frequency is a MINIMUM frequency. In other words that 15 minutes is Sunday morning at 9am or very late night, and on holidays.
 

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