French rail technology Alstom, are now running Automatic Train Operations (ATO) on the first stretch of the Paris network that they are updating as part of a €20 million contract. In a complex installation on a 30+ year old network, this will be the first time ever that automatic operation has been installed on heavy trains. This solution, integrated into the 1989 Operation and Maintenance Driving Assistance System (SACEM), will improve the regularity of the line, provide time savings of approximately two minutes for the average journey between the stations of Vincennes and La Défense and increase the commercial speed of 5 km/h. Since 27 April ATO has been running between the central section of France’s RER A between Nanterre-Prefecture, Vel-de-Fontenay and Fontenay-sous Bois. Transporting 1.2 million passengers a day, the line is the busiest in Europe.
"Alstom is very proud to participate in this project, which is vital for mobility in the Ile de France region."
Automatic Train Operation is an operational safety enhancement device which has been designed to help automate the running of trains. It is primarily designed to improve safety, performance and profitability.
Since 1989, the SACEM system has been ensuring the performance and safety of Line A of the RER by continuously controlling the speed and spacing of the trains. Alstom has actively participated in the development and implementation of this solution. Alstom also has also deployed solutions for SACEM in Mexico and Hong Kong.
"Alstom is very proud to participate in this project, which is vital for mobility in the Ile de France region. Alstom's French signalling teams, based in Saint-Ouen and Villeurbanne, are putting all their expertise and enthusiasm into providing an innovative, reliable solution capable of operating with an older system. This project will be an impressive showcase for Alstom's signalling know-how," says Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom France.
The ATO and ATC/ATP systems will work together to maintain a train within a defined tolerance of its timetable. The combined system will marginally adjust operating parameters such as the ratio of power to coast when moving and station dwell time, in order to bring a train back to the timetable slot defined for it.
Alstom have then agreed to take on a real technical challenge to install in less than two years, an automatic control system on an existing 30-year old system, technically complex given the interfacing with two types of existing trains. This is also the first time ever that automatic operation to be installed on heavy trains. The solution, integrated into SACEM, will improve the regularity of the line, providing time savings of approximately two minutes on average journeys between the stations of Vincennes and La Défense, representing an increase in commercial speed of 5 km/h.
For more signalling and train control stories you might be interested in: