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first_imgTENDERS will be called by German Railway this month or next for the first three of seven Advanced Train Control Centres that will ultimately take over train operations from thousands of existing signalboxes. These will be turnkey projects of substantial size, with around 150 workstations each, and great complexity, especially in terms of software development. They will take many years to complete, not least because of the need to replace mechanical signalling and other devices incapable of being operated remotely. DB’s initiative is all the more remarkable because, until recently, signalbox control areas had been very limited in Germany. Michael Kant of Alcatel SEL told last month’s AIC signalling conference in London how the ATCC has been developed with DB to control directly every aspect of hour-by-hour running of the operational railway, including maintenance. This will embrace passenger information, and even escalators at stations. Notable exceptions are the railway’s exclusive 16·7Hz traction power network and the S-Bahn in Berlin and maybe other cities.Railtrack is launching this year development of up to seven Management Control Centres, with the first probably at Eastleigh. These will play a similar role to the German ATCCs in operating Britain’s 16000 km network, although the initial remote control task to be transferred (from Woking) is expected to be the 750VDC traction power supply broadly covering the area of the South West Trains franchise.The conceptual jump from the dispatching function to integrating hands-on management of the complete railway operation in a single building takes some grasping, but the logic is compelling. The cost of reliable data transfer over wide-area networks has become negligible. Much operating and commercial data currently collected for different purposes can be merged, producing major cost savings and raising efficiency. Automatic route setting backed up by conflict resolution algorithms is already turning dispatchers into short-term timetable editors.Staff reductions in prospect are formidable. Union Pacific led the way in 1989 with its Harriman Dispatching Centre (RG 3.90 p186) controlling and managing the entire network from Omaha. BNSF and CSX built similar facilities at Fort Worth and Jacksonville – the latter is currently being upgraded to perform more functions, with more lines to be added when Conrail is split.While UP and BNSF are 20% bigger than DB in route-km, the passenger-oriented European networks with their much higher train densities pose an altogether more complex and formidable task considered to be beyond the capacity of a single control centre. Paul Carroll, Engineering Manager for the Railtrack project, explained that the Management Control Centres will not spring into being overnight. Rather, there will be ’migration of control’ as new management information systems are created and interfaces with relay-based signalling up to 40 years old are put in place. Nonetheless, train control in Europe is going to look very different five years from now. olast_img read more

first_imgGoalkeeper Oscar Ustari will go straight into the Sunderland squad for Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final clash with Manchester United after signing a short-term deal. Press Association The 27-year-old Argentina international will remain at the Stadium of Light until the end of the season after he and Spanish club Almeria agreed to rescind his contract. Ustari will be Vito Mannone’s understudy, a role which has been filled recently by youngster Jordan Pickford as Keiren Westwood recovers from shoulder surgery. center_img Speaking minutes before the deal was confirmed, Black Cats head coach Gus Poyet said: “I hope he [Ustari] gets over so we can go tomorrow to the game relaxed and having him on the bench to cover us just in case. “We could be in a very difficult position. The kid [Pickford] has never played and being in that situation – imagine if we got to extra-time and penalties. “Yes, he could be the hero, or it could be devastating for him as well.” last_img read more

first_imgCarlingford Lough, joint top-weight for the Crabbie’s Grand National, has been ruled out of the Aintree centrepiece on April 11. McManus’ racing manager Frank Berry said: “That (Grand National) won’t be happening.” The County Waterford trainer raised the possibility of Carlingford Lough lining up in the Punchestown Gold Cup, depending on how quickly he recovers from his Cheltenham exertions. Kiely said: “He’s come back fine. We agreed the ground probably wasn’t ideal, but I’m not sure he would have been good enough anyway. “I think we’ll give our horse a break for a couple of weeks and see how he is after that. “He could go to Punchestown, maybe.” The JP McManus-owned nine-year-old claimed the Hennessy Gold Cup at Leopardstown on his penultimate start, but failed to provide Tony McCoy with a final Cheltenham Gold Cup success, finishing ninth behind Coneygree. John Kiely’s charge heads the weights for the National, along with last year’s Gold Cup hero Lord Windermere, but he will not be heading to Merseyside. center_img Press Associationlast_img read more