Finland on-track with GE Fanuc

01 November 2007

The Finnish Rail Administration (RHK) has increased safety and automation with train control systems from Finnish supplier, Mipro Oy.

Mipro Control Room
Mipro Control Room

Mipro had to develop a system that would bridge the gap between manually operated control systems and large-scale, high-volume interlocking ones. It turned to GE Fanuc, which has UK-headquarters in Towcester, for control and monitoring software.

The system, developed through collaboration between Mipro, RHK, Oy VR-Rata Ab and telecom operators, is called MiSO Train Control System (TCS).

Installation alongside existing systems was necessary to provide an economically viable centralised computer control system instead of manually operated systems and wayside equipment.

The TCS uses an object oriented approach, dividing a total project into smaller parts that can be defined, programmed and tested separately.

Control of a complete network can be centralised in a control room containing multiple screen PC operator terminals running GE Fanuc’s Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX, which has enabled the development of customised screens. In RHK’s system, 60 terminals are linked to the network which uses 25 servers. The servers are configured to offer fully redundant ‘hot-standby’ services for the user terminals. The terminals are located in four major locations across the 2000km rail-network, of the total 6000km national network. Central Train Control (CTC) provides each operator with a clear graphic display of the network, showing the network status, signalling and train positions and direction of movement. Operations are based on standard mouse pointing techniques.

TCS maintains a database of communication diagnostics from the communication subsystems. Any loss of communication causes immediate interlocking on each subsystem involved. Alarms are displayed on the operator terminal and printed locally. TCS captures, in an event database, every operator action, the movements of trains, and the actions of interlocking and signalling systems. This can also be transferred to an archive periodically.

Mainly used on existing track, the TCS has been designed with flexible connectivity in an effort to maximise use of the existing infrastructure. For example, the communication network will interface with most existing telecommunication systems that sit by the side of railroads.

Thus, operator terminals may be connected to a train operator’s intranet to form a multi-operator environment or to conduct train operations from a remote location if required.

Safety approved relays connect 24V DC PLC I/O circuits to relay based systems. Universal Wayside Signal Interfaces (UWSI), controlled by the TCS, may be configured to interface with several types of signal unit and ATP equipment: Universal Point Machine Interface (UPMI) offers similar interface functionality for railway points.

MiSO AXLE (Axle counting system) is a configurable detection system for notifying the rail vacancy. The system is based on well-proven sensor devices and approved Safety PLC components. Two or more AXLE Counting Points and the Counting Equipment form the Controlled Track Section. The track section may be a line or a shorter track section as the system is able to handle safety critical transmissions using a variety of communication media. The system consists of a double wheel sensor set-up mounted to the rail. A junction box connects the sensor leads to the sensor cables near the sensor assembly.

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