Thales’ integrated workstation eliminates signalling-related silos and creates new synergies between heterogeneous systems
Main line rail networks depend on a wide range of different systems to support operations. Among these are signalling and interlocking systems, automatic train protection systems such as ETCS, traffic management, communications, SCADA and back-office systems.
Each of these systems is essential. But because they have all evolved independently, they can be, in effect, functional silos. This means potential efficiency gains and productivity benefits that come from greater synergy could be lost. It can also create an inflexible and cluttered working environment.
A single interface
At InnoTrans, Thales is demonstrating a sophisticated centralised solution – the integrated workstation – which links signalling,
With one click, the operator can change his role
The integrated workstation
can be used more or less anywhere
within a railway company.
management, control and analysis for main line operations.
“The integrated workstation can be operated by signalmen, dispatchers, station managers and possession managers – and it can be used more or less anywhere within a railway company,” explains Volkmar Heuer, Head of Product Management for Main Line Operational Control Systems, Thales Germany.
Meeting customers needs
The solution meets the growing requirement for increased productivity, capacity and quality of service on rail networks. There’s also a need to improve punctuality and to build customer satisfaction. “Centralisation and automated control means these goals can be achieved,” says Mr Heuer. “Operators are no longer occupied with routine tasks and the system runs by itself to a high degree.”
The solution is designed to eliminate heterogeneous system interfaces: user access is provided via a single operator workplace. “With one click, the operator can change his role and the system automatically shows the relevant context,” says Mr Heuer. “And instead of having many keyboards and mice, you have just one piece of operator equipment.”
New operational concepts
Control of the railway environment is carried out from fixed central locations, such as operation control centres (OCCs) and fixed local control workstations in signal boxes. In addition to this, Thales’ solution allows the fully integrated control function to be carried out
locally – anywhere – using a mobile device, in effect, creating a portable OCC. In this way, true integration of the OCC, local and mobile workstation is achieved.
“The new Thales’ Possession Terminal is implemented using a ruggedised notebook computer with standard GSM-R or other available radio links,” explains Mr Heuer. “It is able to issue safety-critical commands and to display vital information. This allows the operator to manage rail traffic locally during maintenance work on the track.”
The solution uses the same software for centralised, local and mobile applications. This optimises training costs because identical software is used throughout the operational ecosystem.
The solution is based on two service-proven Thales’ products: ARAMIS (Advanced Railway Automation, Management and Information System) and HIS (Human Machine Interface for Integrated Solutions).
HIS is a SIL4 system – it meets the highest safety standards – and it is designed to integrate both vital and non-vital systems without any compromise on safety. This is achieved using qualified, standard off-the-shelf hardware and operating systems.
The integrated workstation builds on Thales’ deep safety expertise, knowledge of the railway environment and ability to deliver complete turnkey projects.
|INTEGRATED WORKSTATION AT A GLANCE|
• Productivity gains – with deep functional integration
• Single user interface – optimises OPEX, CAPEX and training costs
• Rapid adaptability – solve complex operational problems quickly
• Flexibility – central or local control of rail operations
• Assurance – safety-certified design