Impact of signalling system on capacity – Comparing legacy ATC, ETCS level 2 and ETCS hybrid level 3 systems
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Most railways use fixed block technology, which could be replaced with moving block technology with associated high cost. It is therefore interesting to gradually upgrade the signalling system exploiting hybrid technologies. This paper aims to investigate the impact on capacity of various signalling systems (including fixed block technology and hybrid technology) using a microscopic simulation tool under scheduled (static) conditions without considering probability functions. To perform comparative analysis between European Train Control System (ETCS) Hybrid Level 3, ETCS Level 2, and the Swedish ATC2 legacy system, three signalling system scenarios are designed and capacity consumption is considered as a performance indicator. The study was performed on the central section of Stockholm's commuter train network with peak hour conditions from the 2020 timetable. The results show that ETCS L2 delivers lower capacity consumption in total compared to the ATC2 legacy system. ETCS Hybrid Level 3 with existing trackside train detection and partially shortened block sections delivers lower capacity consumption compared to ETCS L2 and ATC2. The implementation of hybrid solutions such as ETCS Hybrid Level 3 in addition to allowing for gradual upgrading of signalling systems to the next generation (moving block system) can improve capacity of high-density commuter lines.