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Ansaldo STS Perspective: Fulfilling wayside and back office needs to complement locomotives and communications

By Jian Sun, principal signaling engineer-system integration, conventional

Ansaldo STS (ASTS) is both a component supplier and a system integrator for PTC solutions. As soon as PTC was conceived by the railroad industry, ASTS started developing a MicroLok-based Wayside Interface Unit (WIU) for the I-ETMS platform. The WIU products have been used by Class I railroads, including UP and CSX. To minimize impact on small-scale railroads from PTC implementations, ASTS has long been advocating a track circuit-based PTC solution close to E-ATC with MicroLok, MicroTrax and MicroCab.

The most significant contribution is that ASTS provides key PTC technologies for Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) for the Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in Philadelphia and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) in Boston. In these projects, ASTS furnishes wayside transponders, MicroLok-based Wayside Encoder Unit (WEU), and Safety TSR Server. These products fulfill needs for wayside and back office to complement locomotives and communications.

Most importantly, they are fully compatible with the existing ACSES system on Amtrak, which establishes the basis for interoperability with other tenant and host railroads using the same technology. Also, it is noteworthy that the ACSES WEU is the same product as the I-ETMS WIU, capable of dealing with two technologies at the same time.

Beyond a technology provider, ASTS acts as the PTC System Integrator for the above two authorities. Starting with SEPTA PTC, ASTS fully extends its ability as a turnkey project executor. ASTS, the client, subcontractors and other contributors lay down detailed project management plans and processes that cover design, product development, engineering, procurement, manufacturing, logistics, construction, installation, commissioning, training, operation and maintenance.

The ACSES solution based on ASTS products has received FRA type approval in 2016 through the SEPTA PTC project. On the same project, ASTS contributed significant parts in the PTC Safety Plan as the prime contractor, which has received conditional certification from FRA. SEPTA lines have been in PTC provisional revenue service since April 2016.

Currently, ASTS is working with MBTA to meet the deadline in 2018 to show materialized progress for PTC implementation and completion by 2020. ASTS has a broader scope and more components to work with for MBTA PTC. ASTS plans to tackle the challenge with in-depth know-how and close collaboration with the client and carefully selected subcontractors. Based on the above successes, ASTS is actively seeking further PTC opportunities in the rest of U.S. railroads with other PTC solutions, including I-ETMS and E-ATC.