Transnet Freight Rail
ACTOM Signalling recently completed a pilot electronic interlocking contract for Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) that encompassed provision of a system for a single existing station. The validation process also required a simulated “validation station” containing the full scope of permutations for electronic signalling systems.
ACTOM Signalling has developed and installed an electronic system designed specifically for Crescent station, situated near Potchefstroom station in North-West Province on the line to Klerksdorp, while the validation station simulation it has developed as part of the pilot contract serves as a master model for all other stations TFR may assign to the business unit to design and provide electronic interlocking systems for in future.
The multi-million rand contract was awarded in mid-2014 and the system at Crescent was completed and commissioned in September 2015. “The Crescent system will be monitored by TFR prior to granting full and final approval of the interlocking system,” said Peter Colborne, ACTOM Signalling’s General Manager.
The core of the electronic interlocking system is Alstom’s integrated Vital Processor Interlocking (iVPI), a product that was initially developed for the North American market but has been applied in more than 16 countries. ACTOM developed the hardware and software interfaces to all the trackside equipment and the CS90 remote control system.
“Our engineering configuration program, called Engineering Configuration Tool (ECT), has the capability to automatically generate interlocking equations for individual stations according to their specific layout and signalling requirements,” Colborne explained.
This custom-designed engineering configuration tool, developed in-house by ACTOM Signalling, is an extra layer of software that utilises the programming tools developed by Alstom. It is programmed to apply TFR’s HR97 interlocking rules to the required station layout.
“For the overall validation system we designed a dummy station model, including a track layout simulation, that incorporates all the features as provided for Crescent station, plus all other possible permutations covered in TFR’s Required Operational Capability (ROC),” he added.
The technology makes provision for both centralised and distributed interlocking systems. A distributed system was chosen for Crescent station for control of a total of six point sets and 26 signals, with the new system installed in the station’s relay room and communicating with the trackside equipment via optical fibre cable in place of the copper cable used formerly. The previous DC points machines have been replaced with AC points machines.
The system also makes provision for communicating with the legacy system still in operation at the adjacent stations Potchefstroom and New Machavie.
The Crescent installation contains most of the features required in an electronic interlocking system serving an average small station. “These features can be expected to be included in practically all future systems, while the validation model also makes provision for any additional features likely to be required at stations where the signalling functions are more complex and varied, such as passenger stations like Johannesburg and New Canada,” Colborne commented.
ACTOM (Pty) Ltd is the largest manufacturer, solution provider, repairer and distributor of electro-mechanical equipment in Africa, offering a winning and balanced combination of manufacturing, service, repairs, projects and distribution through its 40 distribution outlets throughout Southern Africa.
ACTOM is also a major local supplier of electrical equipment, services and balance of plant to the renewable energy projects.
It also holds numerous technology, distribution and value added reseller agreements with various partners, both locally and internationally.
For further information contact Peter Colborne, ACTOM Signalling
PO Box 4583, Germiston South 1411
Tel (011) 871-6600 Fax (011) 871-6868
Press release compiled by Julian Kraft, J Kraft Public Relations
PO Box 2826 Wilropark 1731
Tel (011) 472-6686 Cell 082-894-9609
Date: February 16, 2016
Caption: ACTOM Signalling’s Frans Badenhorst (left), Application Engineer, and Leon Pienaar, Senior Development Engineer, with the newly-installed electronic interlocking system in Crescent station’s relay room.