Metro studying returning to Automatic Train Control

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Metro studying returning to Automatic Train Control

Postby davinp » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:38 am

Metro has hired the engineering consulting firm Mott MacDonald — at a cost of just over $1 million — to study the potential safety impact of restoring Automatic Train Operation (ATO), which for riders would mean smoother rides, precise train positioning at platforms and fewer time-wasting stops and starts.

This study is due this summer

Metro was designed for ­computer-driven trains, and that’s what was used until the 2009 Red Line crash near Fort Totten

Automatic Train Operation was suspended indefinitely following the crash.

The ATO system itself was not at fault in the crash, however, as federal investigators determined the probable cause was a faulty track circuit module. Metro’s signal system uses a network of electrical circuits that communicate the location of trains on the tracks. Faulty circuits can cause a train to “disappear.”

Metro spent $106 million to replace 1,700 track circuits in the system as part of a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation, with an eye toward eventually returning to automatic operation. ATO was restored to the Red Line briefly in spring 2015, with plans for it to be restored systemwide by 2017.

But the Red Line restoration was short-lived, and the systemwide transition never happened. When Paul J. Wiedefeld came on as general manager in 2015, he said ATO was not a priority because the agency was focused on initiatives critical to safety and maintenance.

Metro said the tens of millions of dollars in upgrades it spent were critical for the safety of the system — even if automatic operation is never restored. ... 366bcbce6c
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Re: Metro studying returning to Automatic Train Control

Postby Sand Box John » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:46 pm

Automatic train control is mostly a train board function. Wayside only provides the speed commands to maintain safe operation regardless operating mode.

The $64,000 question is, has WMATA maintained the train board hardware that performs that function to designed specification? Have they maintained the marker coils that are used to execute automatic station stops? Have they corrected the doors opening on the wrong side issue?

Edit 06 11 2018 10:14 am:

See this subreddit for the answers to those questions.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.
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