|The button we may soon have|
to press. Photograph by
Sander van der Vel
The system was originally proposed to be built on top of GE Transportation's Interoperable Incremental Train Control System (I-ITCS) technology, an approach that was touted as advantageous for being "off the shelf." There are subtle signs that things aren't going so well:
- This month's CBOSS project status update states rather cryptically that the top challenge for the project is GE software release delays. These delays could be related to the recent purchase of GE's Transportation arm by the French firm Alstom, which already offers a range of PTC technologies that could make the ITCS product line redundant.
- The technical requirements for the electrification RFP state (see PDF p. 251 of 2,840) that CBOSS is built on Wabtec's Interoperable Electronic Train Management System (I-ETMS), the main competitor to GE's I-ITCS. Switching from ITCS to ETMS would be like changing the foundation of a house after the roof is completed.
- Section 4.13.1 of the electrification RFP document describes the electrification project scope, stating that "The Contractor shall provide the signal, train control and grade crossing systems"... a definition of scope that overlaps significantly with the CBOSS project.
- Section 220.127.116.11 of the electrification RFP document further describes items that are in the scope of the electrification program, including:
- System-wide track circuit replacement
- Manufacturing and assembly of signal enclosures, including installation and wiring
- Installation of signal enclosures, wayside signals, cables, and cable infrastructure
- Field testing of the signal system and integrated testing with the electrification, EMU, CBOSS/PTC and other interdependent systems
- All work associated with the modification of the signal system required for the Project, including the CBOSS/PTC system as necessary and as required by all regulatory agencies, including the FRA, MUTCD and CPUC. The Contractor shall ensure that its wayside CBOSS/PTC systems are 100% compatible with the existing CBOSS/PTC systems that its systems will interface with.
- The electrification RFP document continues for dozens of pages, describing how an almost entirely new signaling system will have to be installed as part of the electrification project. What CBOSS was supposed to "overlay" will be largely replaced.
A faint odor of fish wafts over the whole affair.