The sole technology that is fully compliant with all of the CHSRA project and technical requirements is the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 with Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R). ERTMS is service-proven and its attributes are highly applicable to CHSTP automatic train control (...)The biggest technical obstacle for importing ERTMS to the U.S. is the lack of available radio frequency spectrum. The White Paper delves into great detail about possible ways to overcome this, making several important policy statements along the way:
- The choice of train control technologies will be limited to solutions that have been successfully demonstrated at high speeds for a period of at least 5 years, to minimize implementation risk and enable a strong safety case to be made to the FRA.
- The CHSRA requires that it not be locked into a single source for procurement, bidding, and supply. Interoperable, interchangeable, open standard and multi-vendor solutions are required and will provide the CHSRA with several sources of supply for extensions, upgrades, and maintenance spare parts in the present and future, thereby lowering risk and cost. (Are you listening, Caltrain?)
- Other alternatives to ERTMS are not technically compliant, not compliant with the project requirements, or present too much risk to implementation.
ETCS level 1 is designed as an add-on to or as an overlay on a conventional line already equipped with wayside signals, and possibly as a fallback solution from ETCS level 2. Communication from the track to the train is ensured by dedicated balises located on the trackside adjacent to the wayside signals at required intervals, and connected to the nearby interlocking and/or wayside signals.. The balises have a data connection to the ATC equipment which provides movement authorities for transfer to the train. Receiving the movement authority through balises, the ETCS onboard equipment automatically calculates and indicates to the train engineer maximum permitted speeds of the train and the next braking points if needed, taking into account the train braking characteristics and the track description data. This information is displayed to the train engineer through a dedicated screen in the cabin. The speed of the train is continuously supervised by the ETCS onboard equipment.This is of course precisely the same thing as CBOSS, which Caltrain and their vendor Parsons Transportation Group are now kludging together for us for a hefty wheel-reinvention fee.
We've already seen Caltrain work with FRA bureaucrats to avoid re-inventing a double-deck EMU train. Why can't they also work with CHSRA, FRA and FCC bureaucrats to avoid re-inventing a train control system? The CHSRA is already putting together a plan for scaling the regulatory mountain, with more detail on radio frequency spectrum acquisition provided in TM 300.03 EMT Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum Acquisition Strategy.
It's no longer just a blogger saying it (bloggers don't know what they're talking about): the high-speed rail project is now firmly on the record as preferring ERTMS as the sole solution, and is already working with government and private entities to obtain the necessary radio spectrum to deploy GSM-R in California. ERTMS is the best solution for the peninsula, because it would allow high-speed trains to use Caltrain tracks with no special equipment or modifications. As a side benefit, it would also allow Caltrain to meet their PTC requirement at minimal cost and risk.
ERTMS is coming. Your move, Caltrain.