JUNE 2020 Issue number 18
Through the tunnel Activity and investment in Asiaâ€™s railways continues
MOBILITY SOLUTIONS Bombardier Transportation is creating faster, safer and greener journeys
SIGNALLING The next generation of train positioning
NEWS All the activity from across the region
Image: Neil Shelley Instagram.com/caffeinebased
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR RAIL
JUNE 2020 Issue number 18
Through the tunnel Activity and investment in Asia’s railways continues
MOBILITY SOLUTIONS Bombardier Transportation is creating faster, safer and greener journeys
SIGNALLING The next generation of train positioning
Image: Neil Shelley Instagram.com/caffeinebased
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR RAIL
NEWS All the activity from across the region
publisher RAIL PROFESSIONAL LIMITED Hallmark House, Downham Road, Ramsden Heath, Essex CM11 1PU Tel: +44 (0)1268 711811 EditorIAL EDITOR SAM SHERWOOD-HALE firstname.lastname@example.org ADVERTISING christian wiles email@example.com BEN WARING firstname.lastname@example.org ADMINISTRATION cherie nugent email@example.com DESIGN & PRODUCTION MILES JOHNSTONE firstname.lastname@example.org Main cover image: Neil Shelley Instagram.com/caffeinebased
Rail Professional welcomes contributions in the form of articles, photographs or letters, preferably by email. Original photographs may be submitted, but, while every care will be exercised, neither the editor nor the publisher take responsibility for loss of, or damage to, material sent. Submission of material to Rail Professional will be taken as permission for it to be published in the magazine. ISSN 2397-8287 © All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the copyright owners.
elcome to the June issue of Rail Professional Asia Pacific. This issue is packed full of interviews with high-level players in the rail industry from across the region, we also have an opinion piece, a story on train positioning and news on all the latest activity in Asia Pacific. I’ll start by talking about Vietnam’s success in containing the Coronavirus and its decision last month to recommence operations on its railways. At the end of April the North-South railway line running from Saigon Railway Station to Hanoi resumed service, a month later and I have seen images of football games in Vietnam with packed crowds, all whilst construction of the Hanoi metro continues apace. Sadly, my planned trips to various events across Asia Pacific in the first half of the year were cancelled or postponed but things look positive for the final quarter of the year with events in Bangkok to look forward to and – if circumstances allow – I hope to visit both Hanoi for an update on the Metro system and Myanmar to see how Japanese investment is helping to rehabilitate the city’s circular line. News came out recently of the arrival of old train carriages from Japan that will be repurposed and put into service on the circle line whilst a $370 million will help to modernize a significant stretch of the Yangon to Mandalay railway. Bringing it back to this issue and as mentioned we are talking with several big name players this month. I spoke with Chaiwat Tongkamkoon, the Permanent Secretary for Thailand’s Ministry of Transport about a wide range of topics related to the country’s railway infrastructure. Multiple planned projects and updates on ongoing construction of railways across the country. My second interview was with Jim Eldridge, we discussed Rock Rail’s new venture in Australia and how the country is handling the sheer scale of urbanisation in major cities along the eastern seaboard. Third up is Jayaram Naidu, Regional President of Southeast Asia for Bombardier, who shares the company’s plans to drive services expansion in the region. We also have a feature from a new contributor the magazine, Sam Linke, Aurecon’s Transport Planning Leader in Victoria, Australia who writes on the opportunity to rethink and redesign our transport systems and Thales provides us with an article on the next generation of train positioning. Sam Sherwood-Hale Editor
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher, nor does it accept liability for any printing errors or otherwise which may occur.
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issue 18 • JUNE 2020
Alstom and SMRT Trains sign services partnership for driverless train control system for the Circle Line in Singapore, Alstom’s first Prima electric locomotive delivered to Indian Railways begins operation, Customers enjoy more smart mobility features at their fingertips with upgraded all-in-one MTR Mobile, New Zealand orders raise Mechan’s global presence, Bangkok Gold line project to rely on Teltronic TETRA radio communications system, Robel opens new China office in Shanghai
Sam Sherwood-Hale, spoke to Jim Eldridge, Regional Managing Director at Rock Rail Australia about his journey through the transportation industry, his experience with Rock Rail and the company’s new venture in Australia
12 Opinion Sam Linke Aurecon Transport Planning Leader, Victoria, argues that governments, engineers, transport planners, and businesses now have the opportunity to rethink and redesign our transport systems to better legacy outcomes
20 Interview Bombardier delivers rail services solutions for success in Southeast Asia, Jayaram Naidu, Bombardier’s Regional President of Southeast Asia, shares the company’s plans to drive services expansion in the region
22 Business Profile The next generation of train positioning
15 Interview Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Khun Chaiwait, Permanent Secretary for Thailand’s Ministry of Transport about Thailand’s high-speed railway projects, the brand new central station and other exciting developments
More news at www.railprofessional.com/news
Alstom and SMRT Trains sign services partnership for driverless train control system for the Circle Line in Singapore Singapore – Alstom and SMRT Trains, with support from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), have signed an agreement that will ensure the continued reliability and availability of the driverless train control system installed by Alstom on the larger Circle Line (CCL) network. This long-term services support (LTSS) agreement is the first of its kind for a Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line, with a contract length of 16 years which also includes performance guarantees for the entire contracted term. Leveraging Alstom’s long experience in train control solutions and maintenance, the programme will see Alstom provide spare
parts, repairs, obsolescence management and technical support for the CCL system until the year 2035. During this period, a local team of Alstom experts will work closely alongside SMRT Trains’ CCL
team to maintain the availability and security of the train control system. Such localisation of dedicated on-site resources, including the adoption of advanced diagnostic tools, offers operational flexibility and efficiency to ensure safe and reliable service for CCL commuters. ‘We are proud to support our customers in Singapore where and when it matters most. With this LTSS contract we will strengthen Alstom’s service portfolio in the Asia Pacific region and enhance the localisation of key competencies in Singapore. It also reinforces the trust that SMRT Trains places in our technical, operational and maintenance expertise. We look forward to this long-term collaboration that will ultimately benefit passengers on the line’ said Guillaume Denis, Vice President of Alstom Digital Mobility in Asia Pacific. Mr Lee Ling Wee, Chief Executive Officer, SMRT Trains, said: ‘This collaboration will allow SMRT to maintain the performance of Circle Line’s signalling system through long-term spare support, shorter repair turnaround time and access to Alstom’s technical expertise.’ Alstom’s Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) solution Urbalis first entered service on the CCL network in 2009, enabling the first automated operations of metro and suburban rail networks. It gives operators precise control of train movements, allowing more trains to run on the line at higher frequencies and speeds in total safety, with or without drivers. Alstom has been present in Singapore for over 20 years and is a major supplier of integrated metro systems, digital train control systems, rolling stock, infrastructure and services for Singapore’s MRT lines. The CCL system itself was fully designed and built by Alstom in consortium with local companies. Alstom is currently supplying the signalling system and 23 Metropolis trains (69 metro cars) for the CCL Stage 6.
Alstom’s first Prima electric locomotive delivered to Indian Railways begins operation New Delhi, India – The first of the 12,000-horsepower, Prima T8 electric locomotives has been put into commercial service by Indian Railways. Built by Alstom and certified by the Ministry of Railways and Commissioner of Railway Safety/RDSO, the electric locomotives – known locally by the designation WAG-12 – are the most powerful locomotives to run on Indian rails. The 2015 contract will see a total of 800 locomotives built for Indian Railways. Set to revolutionise freight logistics in the country, the e-locos will allow faster and safer movement of heavy freight trains, capable of hauling 6,000 tonnes at a top speed of 120 kph. Planned for deployment on Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs), they will increase the average speed of freight trains in India by approximately 25 kph. Equipped with Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBT) propulsion technology, the e-locos will also allow considerable savings in energy consumption thanks to the use of regenerative braking. ‘Alstom is very pleased to be delivering these electric locomotives to Indian Railways. The introduction of the Prima locomotives into the IR fleet demonstrates our commitment to the country. This revolutionary product which will be faster, safer and more environmentally friendly, and it will help write a new chapter for India’s sustainable mobility journey. We are immensely proud to be a partner in this’ said Ling Fang, Senior Vice President of Alstom AsiaPacific. In line with the Make-in-India mandate, all the 800 Prima Rail Professional
locomotives are being manufactured locally. Designed at Alstom’s Engineering Centre in Bengaluru, the Prima T8 WAG-12 are being built in one of India’s largest integrated greenfield manufacturing facilities at Madhepura in Bihar. Spread across 250 acres, with a production capacity of 120 locomotives per year, the Madhepura site is built to international standards of safety and quality. Two ultra-modern maintenance depots in Saharanpur and Nagpur will ensure the high service availability of the locomotives. The Saharanpur depot is already operational and the one in Nagpur is under construction. Equipped with the latest features, these depots will play a critical role in maintaining India’s most advanced freight locomotives at significantly lower costs. As part of the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project of Indian Railways, in 2015 the Ministry of Railways and Alstom signed a contract worth $3.8 billion and created a joint venture for the project. The contract allowed for the manufacture of 800 doublesection, 12,000-horsepower electric locomotives for freight service and associated maintenance for a period of 11 years. The scope also included the set-up of a manufacturing plant at Madhepura (Bihar) for building the e-locos and two maintenance depots at Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra). A true embodiment of India’s vision, the project will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the country (primarily in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra).
More news at www.railprofessional.com/news
Customers enjoy more smart mobility features at their fingertips with upgraded all-in-one MTR Mobile Hong Kong – The brand-new enhanced MTR Mobile app has debuted with a range of new and enhanced functions to be rolled out in the following months. The new all-in-one lifestyle mobile app will allow members of the public to enjoy more smart mobility features with diverse transport and shopping services at their fingertips. The MTR Corporation is committed to enhancing customers’ riding and shopping experience with the use of technology. Since its launch ten years ago, MTR Mobile has introduced advanced technologies to enhance the functions of the app, including ‘Instation Finder’, ‘Alighting Reminder’, as well as the AI-equipped ‘Chatbot’ in recent years. The app has around 1.4 million active users every month, a testimony to its popularity among our customers. As MTR Mobile will be celebrating its 10th anniversary and customers’ needs continue to evolve, MTR is committed to enhancing our heartfelt service by presenting an upgraded version of the MTR Mobile: a new lifestyle mobile app to help navigate our transport network
and shopping malls with greater ease and convenience. A new reward scheme and a wide range of lifestyle information will also be launched as one of the key features of the upgraded app. Starting from June, passengers can purchase five types of ‘Monthly Pass Extra’ through MTR Mobile, a time-saving alternative to purchasing tickets in person in stations. Starting from July, the ‘Next Train’ function will be extended to the Light Rail network, providing real-time frequency updates for Light Rail passengers to better plan their trips. The newly enhanced ‘Trip Planner’ will be launched in the third quarter, offering up to three MTR route suggestions for passengers’ choice based on their needs. This new function will feature an integration with real-time information, such that the ‘Trip Planner’ will suggest alternative routes in the event of service disruption. Later this year, the QR code function will be added to the MTR Mobile and will provide a new payment option at entry/exit gates apart from Octopus. Passengers can scan the QR code in MTR Mobile to pass though station entry/exit gates.
New Zealand orders raise Mechan’s global presence Two rail depots in New Zealand are to benefit from equipment supplied by Sheffield-based Mechan, as the firm’s reputation for reliability and durability spreads across the world. The specialist manufacturer is supplying eight 30-tonne lifting jacks to KiwiRail, eight years after it installed four identical units at the operator’s Hamilton depot. Mechan’s new lifting jacks are to be used in the Wellington and Dunedin rail depots on New Zealand’s north and south islands respectively, to cater for a fleet extension and maintain several different types of locomotives. Mechan has worked with KiwiRail to customise Mechan’s standard design. Having completed the build phase in February, the units are now being shipped to the other side of the world. Mechan enjoys a longstanding relationship with KiwiRail, New Zealand’s largest rail operator, dating back to 2001, when an initial set of jacks was delivered to the Wellington depot. Last year, a further four 30-tonne jacks were created for the Auckland depot and commissioned in September. Lindsey Mills, Mechan’s Sales Manager, said: ‘Despite our existing links with KiwiRail, these orders were won through tender and our products judged impartially on their quality and value for money. We have proven the high level of reliability our jacks achieve and we expect that this was viewed positively in the decision-making process. We look forward to returning to New Zealand to complete the installation and by doing so, further extending our reputation for excellence across the country.’ Mechan is renowned for its flagship Rail Professional
lifting jacks, which grace modern maintenance facilities worldwide. Sets of up to 48 can be synchronised and an entire
lift managed by just one operator, allowing the longest trains to be serviced without decoupling, saving valuable downtime.
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Bangkok Gold line project to rely on Teltronic TETRA radio communications system Bangkok, Thailand – Teltronic has been appointed by the leading System Integrator AMR Asia as TETRA provider of the Gold Line, an Automatic People Mover (APM) line which is under construction and will be the first feeder line of Bangkok’s rapid transit system operated by BTS. Teltronic will be providing its endto-end solution consisting of its high capacity Switching Control Node, Site Base Stations that will ensure the full coverage along this new line, world class SC20 handheld terminals, and desktop units. The communications will be managed from the Teltronic´s Command and Control Centre (CeCoCo).
NEWS IN BRIEF... Yangon Circle Line and Yangon to Mandalay railway update Yangon, Myanmar – Japanese investment in Myanmar is seeing results with work on improving the tracks on the Yangon Circle Line nearing completion. New train carriages arrived from Japan early in May and are being refurbished by Myanma Railways before being put into operation on the Circle Line. Japan is providing funding to multiple rail projects in Myanmar with the recent announcement of a loan, via the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to improve the capacity of cross-country
‘We feel honoured to count on AMR Asia’s trust to provide the Mission Critical communications of the Gold line project. Thailand is a key country for us in coming years with a strong growth potential led by a good number of new railway projects’ stated Josep Jonch, APAC Regional Director for Teltronic. The state-of-the-art Teltronic system will provide Critical voice and Data services to support the operations from BTS in the Gold line, which will connect the existing Green Line new real estate, commercial developments and public healthcare facilities such as Iconsiam and Taksin Hospital and it is expecting 47,000 passenger per day. In a
railway transportation by rehabilitating and modernizing the existing railway and related facilities from Yangon to Toungoo on the Yangon-Mandalay Railway line. The loan totals over 40 billion yen ($370 million). Shenzhen subway construction speeds up Construction of the Shenzhen subway has resumed with phase one expected to enter trial operations later this year. Phase one of subway project will have six stations along its twelve-kilometre route. Shenzhen is projected to have 107 kilometres of new subway lines completed by the end of the year.
latter phase, a second stretch will be built to complete the full length of the project and will reach the Purple line. ‘This project brings to light, one more time, the versatility and reliability of TETRA in transport environments, and the bright future that lies ahead for this technology. TETRA manufacturers keep innovating through new technology developments every year. Where other radio technologies are announcing its end of life in coming years, TETRA is a solid technology that will be there for many years to come’ Felipe Sanjuán, Teltronic’s Transport Business Development Director.
Australian Rail Track Corporation appoints Mark Campbell as new CEO The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has welcomed Mark Campbell as its new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Mr Campbell joins ARTC from leading construction materials firm Holcim, where he was CEO of the company’s Australia and New Zealand divisions for eight years. A civil engineer by trade, Mr Campbell brings more than 30 years of international experience in both light and heavy industrial fields, such as quarrying, minerals processing, coal mining, concrete manufacturing and logistics, including road, rail and shipping.
Robel opens new China office in Shanghai A Bavarian track construction company is expanding its global footprint. Following the formation of companies in France and the USA in 2019, Robel establishes another strategic foothold in Shanghai for servicing the Chinese market. The Robel Railway Engineering Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd (RRET) is a subsidiary of Robel Holding GmbH, which has appointed William Lin as General Manager of the new company. RRET will provide full sales and service coverage of the Robel product portfolio in China. ‘For many years, China has seen a huge expansion of its railway infrastructure. This infrastructure will have to be maintained. We regard it as our mission to set up full local support for our Chinese customers’ said Robel Managing Director Wolfgang R. Fally. ‘It’s exciting to see the growth of Robel’s operations across the globe. The new centre of excellence in Shanghai enables collaboration and fast-tracks Chinese user acceptance of Robel products’ stated William Lin. RRET, together with Robel Bahnbaumaschinen, Robel France, Robel North America and Vogel & Plötscher, forms part of the Robel group of companies. Rail Professional
Flattening the post-pandemic transport curve Sam Linke Aurecon Transport Planning Leader, Victoria, argues that governments, engineers, transport planners, and businesses now have the opportunity to rethink and redesign our transport systems to better legacy outcomes
ost of our cities are on a one-way trajectory to being choked with ever increasing traffic congestion. A simple calculation of annual population growth, coupled with our love affair with the car, results in a relatively predictable future of gridlock. Building infrastructure alone will not solve this wicked problem, but sometimes a major event or disruption presents an opportunity to try something new. That is exactly what happened when one of the world’s most densely populated cities, London, was able to cut road traffic by 15 per cent during the 2012 Olympic Games and even managed to sustain most of that reduction after the Games. This significant cut in road traffic was achieved despite 700,000 ticket holders moving around London on the busiest day of the Games, as companies embraced working remotely and a record-breaking 60 million passengers used the Tube for transport. The
primary reason for this success? A change in travel habits. The London 2012 transport strategy saw a flattening of the peak hour that was largely sustained post-Olympics by eleven per cent of regular London travellers. It was an opportunity to flatten the peak: the Brits took it and locked it in. COVID-19 is a once-in-a-century pandemic, facilitating a worldwide change in travel habits. Has this created the disruption needed for a redesign of transport systems, and a chance to guide our cities to better legacy outcomes? In the space of a few short months, we have changed the conversation from where we work to how and when we work. As social distancing mandated by most governments has steeply reduced travel into and out of major cities, transport peaks have flattened on major metropolitan arterial routes all over the world. Human behaviour has tamed one of the most expensive habits on the planet: the peak-hour commute. In a post-COVID world, will we take this opportunity to unlock the performance of our transport networks, or will we snap back to the default of peak-hour saturation and all the lost productivity and lost time that goes with it? Changing habits The costs of a congested daily commute go beyond the massive capital and operating costs of physical infrastructure and include the downtime of sitting in traffic, missed family and social time, productivity reductions, and environmental costs. Reports from the Grattan Institute and Infrastructure Victoria are just two of the most recent analyses of a global problem created by vast urban sprawl and the persistent gap between where people live and work. We are observing many areas where productivity remains high and the increasing trust and efficiency has been allowed to prove itself because of a government mandated change. As road and rail systems in major cities have become significantly de-stressed, in some areas people are already marvelling at air quality improvements.
How do we keep the best elements of these silver linings when traffic increases again? Re-building and re-imagining We can use a period of broken habits to build new ones. What if we challenge the idea that we all must travel to a workplace every day? How many people must be at a workplace? Why does the entire workforce have to arrive and depart en masse?
A major threat to liveability in our cities is if population growth and associated transport demand outpaces infrastructure capacity. Governments around the world invest significantly in infrastructure, but often this can only be justified in response to an existing problem, creating a lag between the need and response. In some cases, these projects cause commuters further delays and frustration until works are finished, only to have the infrastructure meet its projected peaks within a matter of months. Could COVID-19 enable a radical shift in thinking where we put more focus on the demand element of the equation? Could governments proactively work with businesses to incentivise working from home, trialling new blended working models that allow agencies to optimise infrastructure already in place rather than continuously chasing our tails? Travel demand management often refers to four pillars of behaviour change: re-time, re-route, re-mode and reduce. If governments can incentivise businesses to shift or stagger working hours, then retiming or reduction of trips will make public Rail Professional
and private transport more effective. As well as working with businesses to inspire change, we’ll need a better understanding of user needs, better data, and better communication: the more information we can provide people, the better equipped they will be to make alternative transport choices. Management strategies could include improving communication – for instance the project owners of Sydney’s Metro Tunnel use of messaging systems to let travellers know their trip is delayed or more crowded due to disruption. Another example could be a proactive app service that advises commuters if the upcoming train is full, and suggests other options – a nearby, less full bus route, or bike hire with a coffee voucher to incentivise usage. Indeed, these measures both support necessary social distancing in any transition out of COVID-19 and better utilise whole transport networks going forward. Instinctively, we think that human behaviour drives the need for roads and railway construction, but smart infrastructure also influences human behaviour. Right now, there is an opportunity to take what we know and what we can influence about changing mobility habits and build into strategic planning, transport policy, operations and new and upgraded transport infrastructure. In
doing so, we have the chance to make more efficient use of our infrastructure spend, while improving quality of life. Some examples of how transport infrastructure will be adapted in response to the pandemic includes the New Zealand government’s plan to widen footpaths, the addition of temporary bike lanes in New York, Vancouver and Berlin, and other cities’ plans to improve cycling and walking infrastructure to help people more easily maintain social distance. These measures both support a transition out of current COVID-19 restrictions, but also a chance to influence meaningful and sustained mode shift as a legacy outcome. The flip side Will people want to use public transport as we ease out of COVID-19 restrictions? Will people want to squeeze onto busy trains and buses if they are concerned about potential infection? Could we see demand for private vehicles and the acceleration of AV development increase, because these options offer a more private and therefore ‘safer’ space? Without proactively capturing this opportunity for behaviour change, we are at risk of only increasing road congestion and cementing this as the new normal. Indeed, data out of China already shows in some
areas toll road usage is up by approximately 20 per cent compared to before COVID-19. The longer we maintain rules on selfisolation and social distancing, the more the fear of proximity to strangers will deepen and this will hit public transport. What are the incentives we could ask people to think about now? What could we ask people to think about in terms of their mobility decisions? What can governments do to help the public make proactive decisions around public and active transport? The question of what we do post-COVID is a challenge that should not fall on the shoulders of government alone; engineers, designers, architects, town planners, financiers and land developers will have to step into the post-COVID dynamic, as will employers and employees. It will be up to us all to ensure that whatever good comes of this epidemic is not only captured in new transport infrastructure, but in the way we use it. And that will start with how we live and how we work.
Sam Linke Aurecon Transport Planning Leader, Victoria. Aurecon’s award-winning blog, Just Imagine provides a glimpse into the future for curious readers, exploring ideas that are probable, possible and for the imagination. This post originally appeared on Aurecon’s Just Imagine blog. Get access to the latest blog posts as soon as they are published by subscribing to the blog.
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Khun Chaiwait, Permanent Secretary for Thailand’s Ministry of Transport Sam Sherwood-Hale spoke to Khun Chaiwait, Permanent Secretary for Thailand’s Ministry of Transport about Thailand’s high-speed railway projects, the brand new central station and other exciting developments
here are three state enterprises under the Ministry of Transport State Railway of Thailand (SRT), Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), and Airport Rail Link. How does your Department manage them all? The Ministry of Transport is responsible for all transportation modes, marine, air and land transport including railways. The Ministry of Transport directly supervises two state-owned railway enterprises consisting of the State Railway of Thailand and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. The SRT operates the long-distance train and established the SRT electric train company (SRTET) to operate the airport rail link line. The MRTA manages the metro line in Bangkok through the Bangkok Expressway and the Metro public company limited (BEM) which operates the Blue Line and Purple Line and the BTS Company which operates the Pink and Yellow line. In addition, the Department of Rail Transport (DRT), the new agency under the Ministry of Transport, performs the duty of railway policymaker and regulator for overall rail transport as well as formulating the strategy and development plans of the rail network in Thailand. What was the motivation behind upgrading the Rail Project Development Office to the new Rail Department? The Rail Project Development Office was a division under The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) and upgraded to be the Department of Rail Transport. The DRT was established on 15 April 2019, with the aim of supervising the railway as the regulator. The Department of Rail Transport has five missions. • The first mission is to monitor and evaluate the existing railway infrastructure development projects. • The second mission is the development of the railway through the integration of rail networks for seamless connectivity. Rail Professional
• The third mission is to promote the services and safety standards in rail operations. The fourth mission is to supervise the railway project construction to ensure safety implementation and complyiance with international standards. • The fifth mission is to determine the reasonable fare system to be able to promote the use of the railway and increase the density of land use around the station.
All the missions of the Department of Rail Transport aim at achieving the 20 years national strategic plan. Can you give us an update on the status of the high-speed railway connecting Bangkok’s two major airports with the Eastern Seaboard? This project is a high-speed rail line that will operate between Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi International Airport and U-Tapao International Airport.
It will be operated by Eastern High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Company Limited, special-purpose vehicles by the consortium of Charoen Pokphand Holding and partners. The distance from Don Mueang to U-Tapao has a total length of 220 kilometres. The total investment is 224 billion baht ($7 billion). This project was implemented by PPP scheme with a 50-year concession, the private sector partner will be responsible for operation and maintenance (O&M) cost, the PPP allows us to reduce the burden of Government investment, the Government shall support only the civil work cost and allow a private company to develop the Makkasan area to be built as the new hub of transportation and centre business. By 2022, Bangkok’s commuters will be able to ride the new Yellow, Pink and Purple lines as well as extensions to the Green and Blue lines as part Thailand’s Rail Transport Infrastructure Development Strategy 2015-2022. What can you tell us about the Strategy and what you have planned beyond 2022? Thailand’s Transport Infrastructure Development Strategy 2015 – 2022 is the key strategy to promote the railway system and water transport connectivity. For the rail transport sector, there is a master plan to improve the public transport network and service which is named the Mass Rapid Transit Master Plan in Bangkok Metropolitan Region (M-MAP), the goal is to develop a mass rapid transit network in Bangkok and provinces around Bangkok. The status of the network is below: 1. The North extension Green line (Mo Chit – Khu Khot) will be opened in December 2020 2. An Extension to the Blue line (Tao Phoon – Tha Pra) was opened on 30 March 2020 3. The Yellow and Pink line will be opened in October 2021 The Purple line (Tao Poon – Ratburana) will be opened in April 2026. Currently, there are many projects which are under construction which will be finished after 2020. Once our network is already completed, there will be 14 lines with 366 stations covering a total distance of 559.16 kilometres. Many of our readers in the UK are used to the franchise system – is this a model you would consider in Thailand once the rail network is developed enough? Or would you prefer a vertically integrated model, like they have in Japan? There are various types of railway management models, we consider the model that fits best for Thailand. For example, with regards to most urban railway projects in Bangkok, the process we follow involves a private company paying for the initial investment with the assets being transferred to the Government sector
after the end of the concession, this model is commonly known as Build – Operate – Transfer (BOT). It is quite different from the franchise system in the United Kingdom or the vertically integrated model of Japan. In both models, the railway was owned by infrastructure owners at first and then the infrastructure is shared with railway operators later. Concerning freight transportation, what are some of the key economic corridors in Thailand that rail can help service? There are two, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) and the East – West Economic Corridor (EWEC). To promote economic development in the EEC area, there are some projects that can be provided the infrastructure development to support freight transportation such as Double Track Projects (Chachoengsao – Klong 19 – Kaeng Khoi, Laem Chabang – Mab Ta Phut – Rayong – Chanthaburi – Trat) to connect industrial area and ports. The EWEC will promote connectivity between GMS member countries (Myanmar, Lao PDR., Vietnam). There are some projects that can be provided infrastructure development to support freight transportation such as Double Track Projects (Mae Sot – Tak – Kamphaeng Phet – Nakorn Sawan, Nakhon Sawan – Ban Phai). The Southern Railway Line opened up the southern peninsula to travel and development, what is planned currently with regards to extending that line and/ or building a new southern line? To increase economic growth and promote the connectivity of the southern peninsula, there are some projects that can provide infrastructure development to support transportation such as Double Track Projects (Surat Thani – Hat Yai – Songkhla, Hat Yai – Padang Besar). Currently, these projects are in the process of cabinet approval. Moreover, there is a Land bridge project (Chumphon – Ranong) to support the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC). Can you give us an update on the status of the high-speed railway connecting Bangkok with the north-eastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima? This project is under MOU on railway cooperation between Thailand and China, all construction costs will be borne by the Thai side, the China side will responsible for the detailed design and construction supervision as well as the railway system and EMU (Contract 2.3) which is waiting for the contract to be signed. It will operate from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima with a total distance of 253 kilometres. The civil work can be divided into 14 sections, two sections that have started construction consist of a 3.5-kilometre section from Klang Dong to Pang Asok and an eleven-kilometre section from Sikhio to
Kut Chik, there are three sections waiting for the contract to be signed and nine sections are under the bidding procedure. How soon will we be able to travel from Bangkok to Phnom Penh by train? There is no direct train from Bangkok to Phnom Penh station as of now. However, on 22 April 2019, 40 years since operation between the two countries was stopped, Thailand and Cambodia decided to sign the agreement and operate the railway between Thailand and Cambodia again. The railway covers two kilometres across the border from Aranyaprathet to Poipet. Thailand provided the rolling stock and technical advice to operate a service between the two countries. We are also hearing the Chiang Mai tram network might be bought back, do you have any news on that? The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) will operate the mass transit system in Chiang Mai, commonly known as the Chiang Mai Tram, which is a planned light rail system that will run both above and below ground, Three lines are planned, which will cover a total length of 35 kilometres at an estimated cost of 95 billion baht ($3 billion). Currently, the project is at the design phase and is awaiting an environmental impact assessment report. Can you give us an update on the Bang Sue Grand Station – how excited should visitors to Bangkok be about the new travel opportunities the station presents? The Bang Sue Central Station is located at an existing large railway yard, it will be Thailand’s new railway hub. It will replace the current Bangkok Railway Station at Hua Lamphong as the terminal for all longdistance rail services from Bangkok. It will be one of the largest railway stations in Southeast Asia and will have 26 platforms. The 35 hectares area around the station will be developed as a business and commercial hub, in three zones. According to SRT’s plans, Bang Sue Central Station will have 600 metre–long platforms. The station is under construction and it is expected to be completed to serve the Red Line service from Bang Sue to Rangsit which will open in early 2021. How important are events like RAIL Asia to the rail industry in Thailand? The event allows concerning parties from Asia and the Pacific region to meet and share their ideas and Thai businesspersons related to the railway will take the opportunity to see what is going on at the international level, to boost Thailand’s railway industry in the future. It runs in the same direction as the Ministry of Transport policy, aiming to support agencies related to the railway to enhance the competitiveness of Thailand’s railway business. Rail Professional
Interview : Jim Eldridge Sam Sherwood-Hale, spoke to Jim Eldridge, Regional Managing Director at Rock Rail Australia about his journey through the transportation industry, his experience with Rock Rail and the companyâ€™s new venture in Australia
rior to your appointment as Head of Rock Rail Australia, you spent a career spanning 37 years at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as, among other positions, lead financier of major new infrastructure projects and asset sales. How does that experience inform your new position? During my time at CBA I worked across a wide range of infrastructure sectors and markets, as you might expect after nearly 40 years! Beyond my more recent focus on transport and rail, other projects I have been involved in have also spanned the health, telecommunications and energy sectors. While technical, regulatory and demand aspects vary across these sectors, key project financing issues such as risk allocation, financing structure etc, remain much the same. Addressing these issues across different sectors gives valuable insight for resolving comparable issues going forward. My experience has also emphasised the importance of having a strong understanding of the technical aspects of a given infrastructure sector and project. With the patient input that Iâ€™ve received over time from engineering colleagues and consultants, I have built up a good understanding of the technical challenges involved which I think is particularly important when it comes to the rail sector. Trains must interact with their rail network and systems, remain responsive to their operational environment and remain adaptable to technological change. My long-term involvement in competitively bidding complex projects has also fostered a love for financial innovation. The pain of narrowly losing project bids has encouraged me to look beyond the standardised approach to where the specific circumstances of a given project might afford opportunity to financially innovate. Rail Professional
With Rock Rail having forged its existence on its willingness to challenge and change how rolling stock is procured in the UK, it is little wonder why I started to sit up and take careful note of what they were doing. Finally, I would also point to very valuable experience gained in having had to restructure the financial commitments of major CBA clients who succumbed to financial difficulty. This showed me that when negotiated financing terms are put to the test, some are more important than others. This allows me to focus on key issues and be less prescriptive on the less important ones.
Australia. Aircraft and rolling stock leasing are not dissimilar in that the asset owner assumes genuine residual value risk through shorter lease terms that are afforded to lessee operators. The asset must remain attractive and fit for purpose if it is to remain ‘on lease’ throughout its life. One key difference however is in the mobility of the asset. The sphere of operation for aircraft is unrestricted compared to rolling stock that must remain compatible to the rail network’s infrastructure. This creates different challenges in how best to manage releasing risk.
You have experience in other transportation and infrastructure sectors. What is it about rail that drew you in now? While each infrastructure sector has its unique investment needs and challenges, it was my fascination for the more technical (being a ‘would-be engineer’ at heart) that led me to what I would regard as the more challenging end of the infrastructure spectrum – rolling stock and hospital projects. Both involve a higher degree of upfront specification, longer construction terms and bigger life cycle issues which must be understood to deliver better value for asset users. It was my offshore secondment to CBA’s London office during the global financial crisis of 2007/8 that sparked my love of the rail sector. UK ROSCO ownership was being turned over at a time when many UK & European banks were more cautious which opened the door to new entrant financiers. It was an opportunity that my Bank fully embraced, leading to my personal involvement and sustained passion for the rail sector. There is also a real need for increased investment in Australia’s railways. As our city populations continue to grow and as environmental challenges increase, new investment is needed more than ever if users are to benefit from cleaner, greener and higher speed commuter services. Given our geography, this is a particularly acute need.
You were with Rock Rail prior to this appointment, where you led negotiations for Rock Rail’s successful East Anglia rolling stock deal. What was it about that experience that inspired you to return now? While I was working with Rock Rail on their East Anglia transaction, I was struck by the team’s passion for bringing about meaningful ‘change for good’ within their industry. There was a real belief in a better way of doing things that delivered better value to government, rail passengers, industry partners and institutional investors at the same time and it was contagious! When I joined in May 2016, Rock Rail had only just secured its first rolling stock deal with much scepticism across the industry as to whether it could deliver on a second and more substantive sized procurement. No one is second guessing that now. What a small team of highly specialised people has been able to achieve in transforming the market and in introducing a whole new source of funding, is impressive. It was a bit of a David and Goliath scenario of a small new entrant taking on the ‘might’ of the incumbent rolling stock providers (ROSCOs) who had seen little challenge since privatisation three decades prior. My experience with Rock Rail was both invigorating and challenging. It’s an environment and culture that I very much enjoyed and one that remains in the business today. It has a ‘can do’ attitude that I believe will also bring reformative change to the Australian market.
term, fixed rate funding from major global institutions including pension funds and insurance companies. Institutions welcome the long-term tenor and low volatility (non-GDP driven) return profile that the industry can provide. Rock Rail is supported by a growing number of major institutional investors who have come to appreciate the benefits of its leasing model. Rock Rail believes these benefits along with its provision of specialist rail asset management services, have application to all markets and are fundamental to how we deliver significant value to the markets that we operate in. That said, while the need for investment in new rolling stock and infrastructure clearly exists in both the UK and Australia, each market has its own characteristics, challenges and opportunities which will impact where we can bring most value. While Australia faces many of the same drivers for investment as the UK including growing passenger numbers and the ongoing need to update its rail infrastructure, one of the more immediate specific challenges is dealing with the sheer scale of urbanisation which is occurring, particularly in major cities along the eastern seaboard. More and more people are seeking to live within commuting distance of our major cities. This is pushing up travel distances and the need for infrastructure upgrades and new high capacity commuter rail fleets. The rail industry model is also very different in both markets. Unlike the UK which saw privately owned ROSCOs and franchise operators take over the supply of vehicles and operation of services when the industry was privatised in the mid 1990s, the Australian market remains largely publicly funded, owned and operated. This represents a very heavy burden on public sector funding. So in recognising the real need for increased investment in Australia’s railways, our approach here, is on introducing a leasing alternative to help address this procurement challenge, with our priority on the provision of cleaner, greener trains that better service the high growth corridors in and around the major cities such as Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Since 2016, Rock Rail has secured £3 billion of new rolling stock fleets for multiple franchises in the UK. How will your approach to Australia be different? The uniqueness of the Rock Rail model is in being able to provide operators with a long term, fixed and competitively priced lease rental profile that lessees need only commit to incrementally, through short term leases with options to renew. In this way, operator lessees still maintain the longer-term cost certainty normally provided through longerterm contracts, while also being able to retain asset flexibility through periodic lease renewal. Rock Rail is able to deliver both these benefits due to having directly accessed long-
What does Rock Rail hope to achieve with this move into the Australian market? Most major passenger rolling stock fleet procurements that have occurred in Australia in recent times have experienced some level of difficulty. Whether pursued in partnership with a privately owned consortium under Australia’s standardised Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach or by way of direct procurement from a global supplier, many of these projects have experienced costly program delays with train performance post-acceptance remaining problematic for an extended period. Rock Rail envisages a more collaborative form of procurement, one where its
How will your approach compare to say, the aviation industry, which you have experience in? Within the aviation industry, I enjoyed an early involvement in lease financing of aircraft assets but that was more years ago than I care to remember. What is I think more relevant, was my later role in monitoring of a sizeable equity investment in what was a start-up global aircraft leasing company wanting to enter the market in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Overseeing this company’s successful establishment from initial incorporation through to IPO listing, has given me a window into the challenges involved in establishing new businesses in new markets which should prove beneficial for introducing rolling stock leasing into
specialist knowledge and strength of supplier relationships can help optimise whole life cost outcomes. Rolling stock is a global business that needs sector experienced and well-connected players who are able to work alongside local procurement authorities, train operators and global manufacturers for realising the best outcomes. The need for specialist input doesn’t stop once a fleet is accepted into service. Rolling stock is not a static but a dynamic operational asset that needs to be actively managed throughout its asset life. Rock Rail’s full-service asset management teams do just that. They manage performance ramp up, monitor maintenance effectiveness and efficiency, while also continuing to evaluate asset enhancement options. These teams are supported by Rock Rail’s bespoke ‘live’ data analysis platform (RockStar). This provides fleet performance diagnostics and risk analysis and underpins critical evaluation of maintenance and other asset management options and strategies for optimising performance. The long-term institutional funding model I mentioned earlier also comes into play here. This supports the shorter term leasing that generates operational flexibilities and financial efficiencies not otherwise attainable under long-term concession and/or maintenance agreements. The lessee has the opportunity on lease maturity to re-evaluate how a given fleet has performed and/or how it has been maintained and to either renegotiate terms or pursue other options. This acts as a powerful incentive upon the lessor for getting things right. Rock Rail has financed five large rolling stock fleets totalling more than 1,500 vehicles valued at over £3 billion in just four years. This represents over 40 per cent of all new UK passenger train orders since February 2016 which is allthe-more astounding given Rock Rail has only selectively bid a certain number of procurements. Seeing the positive change that Rock Rail has wrought in the UK rail market has inspired me to bring about much needed reform to how rolling stock fleets are procured and managed in my own country. The opportunity to introduce a whole new approach that has the over-arching objective of delivering better value outcomes for rail passengers and the public, is both challenging and exciting. Tell me about Rock Rail’s asset specific, off balance sheet funding model. How does it differ to the standard public private partnership (PPP) model? Rock Rail is focussed on delivering new rolling stock fleets that are well specified for their intended infrastructure and operational environments and are of sufficient size for delivering train services that are essential and significant to the relevant network. Rail Professional
By confining its asset focus in this way, Rock Rail is able to offer public transport authorities and operators a highly competitive, fixed, long term, lease option for procuring rolling stock that limits their initial commitment to rentals payable under a shorter term lease. Unlike existing publicly funded and PPP models, this allows more public funds to remain available for other investment needs and maintains complete flexibility for the public sector and operators in terms of future fleet choices. It also means the accounting impact for the lessee can be minimised in that its on-balance sheet capitalisation can be confined to rent payable under the initial lease without extending to all payments that are pre-contracted under a long term PPP project deed. This is possible because Rock Rail, as asset owner, assumes full residual value risk both in terms of the fleet’s releasing and other ownership risks across the life of the assets. This is where Rock Rail’s leasing model fundamentally differs from other rolling stock procurement models where ownership risks typically sit with the public sector. As I mentioned earlier, rolling stock is not a ‘fixed asset’, it must respond to future changes in technology, regulations, and operating environment. Rock Rail’s asset management team is focused on ensuring our fleets do just that by remaining fit for purpose throughout their operational life. This includes actively managing for future mid-life operational and technology upgrades and for providing funding mechanisms for doing so where necessary. Why do you think the latter model is the standard? What are the benefits of Rock Rail’s approach?
The need for specialist input doesn’t stop once a fleet is accepted into service. Rolling stock is not a static but a dynamic operational asset that needs to be actively managed throughout its asset life
Compared to the UK, rolling stock procurement options in Australia have been more limited. Aside from directly contracting a global manufacturer, the only other procurement option in use has been the PPP. As with PFIs in the UK, Australian PPPs involve long term commitments made on standardised terms that have been developed for the purpose of wide application across all forms of infrastructure procurement. PPPs are better suited to asset procurements of modest technical complexity that have a known or relatively static operational environment, such as schools, courts and housing. They are less well suited to assets that involve greater technical specification and/or obsolescence exposure and, more importantly, that must remain fit for purpose throughout a more dynamic, demand driven operational environment. PPPs are essentially a single point in time procurement that seeks to identify and allocate risk for all foreseeable project issues and events as at transaction closure. Assets that are more technical in nature and must respond to operational change need the flexibility that long term pre-contracted arrangements cannot provide. Procurement authorities and operators must be able to change usage requirements without the constraint of a long term maintenance contract. This is particularly so when it comes to rolling stock. Without a means for accommodating future unanticipated changes in network infrastructure, signalling, train configuration and service frequency or patterns etc, the useful life of a fleet can be curtailed. Longer term precontracted maintenance arrangements can also be rendered sub-optimal by changes in fleet service patterns and/or usage levels. This is where Rock Rail’s leasing model comes to the fore. It involves upfront collaboration with the procuring authority to understand the future demands of the fleet and how this can best be reflected in its design. Rock Rail specialists also oversee the fleet throughout its operation, addressing any performance issues or required change or modification for maintaining performance. However, the ultimate form of comfort afforded is by way of shorter-term leases. Should future required changes to the rail network occur, procurement authorities are no longer ‘locked into’ long term arrangements with little or no flexibility for re-negotiating. The periodic right of lease renewal gives them the flexibility to be able to adjust terms as a condition of renewal or to even return the fleet where alternative options are considered more attractive at the time.
Jim Eldridge is Regional Managing Director at Rock Rail Australia
Bombardier delivers rail services solutions for success in Southeast Asia The Canadian company’s plans to grow its market share in the region by building enhanced local services capability for urban and mass transit systems
s one of the world’s leading mobility solutions provider, Bombardier Transportation is expanding its services business in Southeast Asia to realize its long-term vision of ‘Creating faster, safer and greener journeys and connecting cities and people in the region, every day’. Bombardier has been providing reliable operations and maintenance (O&M) services for more than 40 years, ensuring that customers gain the maximum value for their assets over the lifetime of their systems. Jayaram Naidu, Regional President of Southeast Asia, shares the company’s plans to drive services expansion in the region.
What are your goals for the region? Our business units are set up to achieve significant growth in Southeast Asia. On top of that, we are also responsible to extend our value chain coverage ranging in scope from full O&M to refurbishment and overhaul. Bombardier’s services ensure that rail operators get the services they need, where and when they need them regionally. Safety, people and product, remains the number one priority for Bombardier Transportation and we continue to deliver our globally proven maintenance solutions to ensure safe and reliable train operations across the world. Apart from the flagship O&M offerings,
the company also establishes adoption of predictive and condition-based maintenance methodologies. With a strong and established local presence, we understand the specific local requirements and need of both rail authorities and operators with a strategic focus on maintaining existing and future customer fleets. Our goal is to be the preferred rail leader in the region, and we also aspire to be the fastest-growing business unit in Bombardier Transportation. Why has Bombardier Transportation decided to expand in the region? Bombardier has come a long way in
Southeast Asia, from winning its first turnkey systems contract for a 27-kilometre rail network in Kuala Lumpur in 1992, to winning Bombardier’s biggest asset replacement contract in Asia on Singapore’s North-South and East-West Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) lines in 2018. The rail industry has been continually growing, especially in the emerging markets of this region. These markets each have their own demand to improve rail infrastructure and transport network. So in recent years, we launched our local services framework that are relevant to the local requirements to boost rail sustainability and reliability for authorities and operators. What are some of your key markets in the region? Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are our current core markets, while Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam are the fastgrowing markets in our portfolio. We have great plans for the whole region. In Thailand and Singapore, for example, the company was awarded with two longterm services contracts separately to maintain Bangkok’s first monorails for Pink and Yellow lines and Singapore’s automated people movers for Bukit Panjang light rail transit (LRT) line. In Malaysia, our midlife refurbishment and overhaul project modernises Kuala Lumpur’s metro trains Rail Professional
for Kelana Jaya LRT line by converting the original fleet from a two-car to four-car trains with inter-car walkthroughs. These projects further boost our customer intimacy in this important ecosystem and Bombardier intends to continue to contribute to the success of rail operators in the region. This reflects the benefit Bombardier can bring to our customers throughout the full life cycle of our systems, which has garnered sizable market share and continues our growth story in the Services business across Southeast Asia. What do you view as your company’s key success factor? People and performance are the key factors to our success. Across Southeast Asia, Bombardier oversees four specialised centres with 200 skilled engineers’ experts. To drive a sustainable performance, we proactively orchestrate succession planning and develop local talent as next-generation leaders. For example, we have local graduate program students who joined Bombardier 10 years ago being promoted to leadership roles. They are currently leading projects in Singapore. Our commitment is to continuously invest in employees and build a sustainable team to increase innovation and performance. The company also fosters transparency
and trust between the employees, and it all starts with the environment we built. We value open communication, encouragement and collaboration to achieve our common goals. How has Bombardier built diversity into the organisation? An important part of the company’s strategy is fostering diversity among its teams by ensuring a robust mix of talent from different nationalities, genders and experiences. This makes Bombardier a place where every member of our diverse workforce can be their best in a truly inclusive environment, free of barriers and biases. Reflecting this commitment, we continue to increase ratio of female leaders in senior management positions in our region. We strive to create a work environment that encourages people in the organisation to have respect for others and to work together regardless of their differences. We believe this unique corporate culture is the key to delivering technology and performance that can help us succeed.
BUSINESS PROFILE |
The next generation of train positioning The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York was facing a very big challenge with its New York City Transit (NYCT) subway system of aging infrastructure, similar to other large cities around the world
ith one of the oldest metro systems in the world, New York’s signalling technology was in particular need of refurbishment; some of the wayside equipment currently in operation has been in use since the 1930s; the oldest subway cars currently in use are from the 1960s. Brownfield resignalling projects are complex and take time, especially in New York where trains interoperate on multiple subway lines. Some estimates said it would take as much as 50 years to resignal the New York system, but not less than 10-15 years. This caused the MTA to start looking for technological advancements that could make resignalling more efficient. Positioning is one of the key components of a new Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) system. Traditionally wheel mounted speed sensors and a transponder interrogator would be installed in the train undercarriage, with transponder tags installed in the track bed in order to initialize and maintain position. On 23
January, 2020, a new type of positioning system, utilizing cutting edge sensor technology and not requiring any equipment installation under the train or in the track bed, was fully integrated with CBTC and Automatic Train operation was successfully demonstrated in New York City at an industry-first event. Background: The MTA’s genius transit challenge In 2018, Thales was selected as one of the winners in the signalling category for the MTA’s Genius Transit Challenge, which aimed to find innovative solutions to the MTA’s modernization timeline challenges, enabling faster implementation. The main goals of Thales’ Train Autonomy Platform and proposed Next Generation Positioning (NGP) for signalling systems were quicker deployment and a more accurate train positioning. Rapid implementation, achieved through a reduction of wayside equipment and removal of undercarriage installation, would enable the MTA to modernize their aging subway infrastructure
on an accelerated timeline. Increased train positioning accuracy, achieved through utilization of modern onboard sensors including Ultra Wide Band (UWB) radios, will contribute to fewer service delays for passengers. Following this achievement, Thales worked with the MTA to install a system, which utilized modern onboard sensors, including radars, cameras and LIDARs, integrated with a UWB network, on a test train. In June 2018, the successful demonstration of the system’s functionality brought the dream of the Genius Transit Challenge to life. The current pilot program continued the work with the next step in the development and testing both of this new train control technology in New York City and with additional optical sensors capabilities that will further enhance safety and operability. Benefits of next generation positioning The NGP system has the following benefits over the currently used signalling technology:
| BUSINESS PROFILE
• Rapid Deployment – The NGP system does not require any equipment to be installed in the undercarriage of the train, nor in the track bed, which would enable faster deployment. • Start-up Position Initialization – On power up, the NGP system tells the onboard controller precisely where it is located. This enables a train to initialize and switch to Automatic Train Operation (ATO) faster than the current generation CBTC systems. • High Accuracy & Availability – The new positioning system provides greater positional accuracy and can support much greater separation between wayside landmarks. This means that future CBTC systems based on this technology will support more precise station stopping accuracy and will be able to travel greater distance between wayside landmarks. If any element of the positioning system fails at one end of the train, the on-board controller can seamlessly switch over to inputs from the other end of the train. All of these features will contribute to faster system deployment and more reliable service with fewer delays for passengers. Pilot in New York On 23 January, 2020, Thales demonstrated their Next Generation Positioning (NGP) system that was part of a nine-month pilot project to develop new technologies that would deliver train control systems faster and more reliably. In March 2019, New York City Transit (NYCT) selected Thales to lead the Train Control System Pilot Program, in partnership with Piper, to determine the feasibility of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) enabled signalling technologies and deployment strategies that would reduce their subway modernization timeline. The pilot program assessed the longterm reliability and safety of a UWB enabled signalling system by leveraging the Thales Rail Professional
Next Generation Positioning (NGP) system integrated with Piper UWB radio technology for a full-scale evaluation of the benefits of next generation positioning technologies integrated with Communication Based Train Control (CBTC). With a smaller technology footprint, this new train control technology has the potential to be implemented faster on revenue and non-revenue trains. The technology There are five high-tech components/sensors that are integrated in Thales’ NGP system and were installed onboard trains as part of the Pilot Program (see also Diagram below). The five sensors are as follows: • UWB: stands for Ultra-Wide Band. UWB is a type of radio communications that uses a very low amount of energy with short-range, high bandwidth waves using a wide range of the radio spectrum. Piper UWB radios were installed on the train and near the wayside (beside the tracks) for the NGP system. The NGP system uses the UWB to periodically receive location updates. No continuous UWB wayside coverage is required. • IMU: stands for Inertial Measurement Unit. It detects changes in speed and direction with an extraordinary level of
accuracy. The NGP system uses the IMU for: inertial navigation and orientation verification in areas where no UWB beacons are located. • Radar: short for ‘radio detection and ranging’ Radar uses radio waves to measure the distance and speed of objects. Radar is used by the NGP system for: speed measurement and zero speed / stationary status. In a subsequent release of the Train Autonomy Platform, it will also be used for the object detection function. • LiDAR: stands for “light detection and ranging.” LiDAR uses pulsed laser light to measure distance with high precision to any targets within range to create a dense 3D map of its surroundings. LiDAR was used to scan the train route and create a “ground truth” digital map that positioning system data can be compared with. • Camera: using advanced image processing techniques, the camera can detect objects such as rails, wayside equipment, or trackside workers. These functions are still in the preliminary testing phase and were not used by the NGP processing for positioning. Conclusion The Ultra-Wideband (UWB)-based Train Control System Pilot Program has proven that Thales’ NGP (Next Generation Positioning) system is accurate and robust and can be integrated with an existing CBTC system. This project is a successful step in the path to a safety-certified NGP system. The NGP system’s high-tech features will contribute to faster system deployment and more reliable service with fewer delays for passengers. Contact Cédric LEURQUIN, Deputy Communications Director Tel: + 33 (0) 1 57 77 90 93 Email: cédric.email@example.com Arnaud BESSE, VP of Strategy, Marketing, & Communications for Urban Rail Signalling Tel: +1 (416) 748-4401 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , Visit: www.thalesgroup.com
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RAIL PROFESSIONAL ASIA PACIFIC JUNE 2020