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Rail News: Passenger Rail

London light rail gives Alcatel green light for more ATC

London’s Docklands Light Rail (DLR) Nov. 30 signed a contract with Alcatel Transport Automation Systems for 12 On-board Controller units for the railway’s Automatic Train Control system to be installed in new automatic metro cars. DLR ordered 12 additional units earlier this year; delivery of all units is expected between January and March 2002, in conjunction with vehicle delivery.

DLR’s 17-mile system, which does not run on streets or in mixed traffic, began service in 1987 using Automatic Train Control (ATC) for driverless operation. The original signaling system was replaced by Alcatel’s Seltrac® moving-block system in 1992 - 1993.

Alcatel’s On-board Controller is designed as an intelligent microprocessor that exchanges data with and interprets commands from its central control system. Although DLR usually operates completely under ATC, passenger service agents may drive the trains in manual mode. If the agent attempts to exceed the speed restriction on the route or leave a station before the route has been set, the ATC will apply emergency brakes preventing further movement.

If ATC were to fail, trains may be driven in Emergency Shunt mode at a maximum speed of 12 mph, but only after the controller provides movement authority through the agent’s radio.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/7/2000