INTRO: Modern train management systems are increasing the scope for on-board monitoring, control and fault diagnosis. QR’s Cairns Tilt Trains use EKE-Trainnet to provide real-time status and control information collected from the whole train, including a log of track condition

BYLINE: Sauli Luoto

Project Manager, EKE-Electronics Ltd

TWO TILTING trainsets are on course to enter service this month in the Australian state of Queensland. The first leaves Cairns for Brisbane on June 15, and the second will head north from the state capital the following day. Given the distance of 1680 km between the two cities, it is not surprisingly that the Cairns Tilt Trains built by EDI/Walkers have very demanding functional requirements.

The two diesel-hydraulic power cars and seven first-class coaches forming each set are equipped with several computer-controlled intelligent subsystems governing a range of performance, safety and passenger comfort systems. These are integrated by the Train Management System, which provides the crew with real-time control and status information on over 3000 possible faults and events throughout the train.

A TMS is often used simply to provide monitoring or logging functions, but on the CTT it can be used to start and stop the four engines from either cab, as well as to control door opening, air-conditioning and lighting. Safety logic prevents the engines being started if specified conditions are not met.

Each vehicle is equipped with a coach computer, connected by an IEC61375-1 Wired Train Bus. These computers use application software programmed with an IEC61131-3 compliant ISaGRAF PRO Workbench. The TMS interface comprises a touch-screen display in each power car and the luggage car. Smaller display/keypad units designed to meet the UIC 557 Man Machine Interface standard are provided in each trailer car, along with three-colour passenger information displays.

A Multifunctional Vehicle Bus, seven different kinds of RS-485 serial links and digital/analogue input/output links provide the interfaces between the various subsystems within each car. On the CTT sets, the MVB is only used to connect the Knorr Bremse brake control unit with the TMS.

In normal service the doors are controlled by the driver, and they can only be released from the ’live’ cab when the speed is less than 5 km/h. At stations and during maintenance the doors can be controlled from any display unit.

Several automatic control functions ease the job of the train crew and maintain vital on-board services. Air-conditioning and lighting are operated by timers that will automatically switch between day and night modes unless manually overridden. Every parameter of the air-conditioning and lighting in any carriage can be controlled from any of the touch-screen displays.

Each car is fitted with a battery charger, but if this fails the car can automatically call on an adjacent vehicle to provide power. In the event of a severe loss of three-phase power the train will automatically drop its secondary loads, maintaining only those necessary for the train to continue in service. The train contains so many back-ups and redundant functions that passengers should not notice the change.

Other minor control functions include equipment for disabled passengers, such as hearing aid loops in two cars and automatic toilet doors, resetting of the smoke detectors, date and time updates from GPS data, and a range of test functions available for use during maintenance.

Status monitoring

The driver is provided with real-time status information, which is also available to other crew in the luggage car. The initial screen gives data on the engines, transmission, doors and train speed, with further information about all cars available on subpages. Pop-up messages alert the crew to any passenger calls, technical failures or other incidents.

The status of each vehicle is shown on the on-board display panel or MMI, allowing train crew and maintenance personnel to inspect it locally. The information displayed depends on the train’s formation, with each car automatically identified and the display updated accordingly.

One of the most important features of modern trains is the ability to log information for maintenance purposes. The EKE-Trainnet TMS implements this using a computer in each vehicle, storing selected data in a local fault log. An event may be generated from a simple relay input, or it can be a logical combination from several sources. The power cars have over 500 different logged events, and even the simplest trailer has around 150.

The information produced can be accessed throughout the train via the WTB, which provides the capacity to transmit the bulk data. Each event is categorised by type or priority, with the highest priority faults displayed in a different colour and on top, with other events logged only for statistical purposes. Filtering algorithms eliminate spurious signals. There is capacity to handle up to seven more cars should the trains be lengthened.

Statistical information on fuel use, average speeds and station dwell time are also produced. Accelerometers continuously record the track condition while the train is moving, logging any faults.

The TMS also monitors its own condition. Possible module failures are diagnosed, and the application is programmed so that this will not cause any false fault loggings. Data transmission over the WTB is also monitored, to alert staff to possible cabling failures. Information on selected faults can be transmitted to any defined location using the GSM link. Depot staff are alerted to possible faults before the train arrives, and they can contact the train from the depot to download details.

The CTT sets have two independent devices which can store any information collected on-board. The recorders are integrated into the power cars’ coach computers, and both log over 100 analogue and digital signals. A crash-protected model of the event recorder may be added in the future.

The only part of the TMS which passengers see is the destination display. This provides information on the next station, and toilet occupancy. It also displays scrolling welcome and information messages, including a visual fire alarm for passengers with impaired hearing. The galley staff can select and display predefined messages about the catering services using the local MMI. This eliminates the need to make audible announcements at night when people may be asleep.

Despite this, all passengers interact with the TMS from the moment they enter the train, as the air-conditioning, lighting and at-seat power are controlled through the TMS. When people open a door or use the buffet car, or even the toilets, all operations are registered, and possible errors in any system are recorded.

CAPTION: Fig 1. General layout of the EKE-Trainnet, showing the MVB and serial links within each car and the WTB along the train

TABLE: Technical data of EKE Train Management System for QR’s Cairns Tilt Trains

Number of coach computers: 9

Interface stations 3

Keypads 6

Destination indicators 5

Train bus WTB (IEC61375-1)

Brake control unit 1 per car, MVB (IEC61375-1)

Door controller 2 or 4 per car

Air-conditioning unit 2 in each trailer car

Engine controller 2 per power car

Alternator controller 5 per train

Tilt controller 1 in luggage car

Entertainment controller 1 in luggage car

Smoke detection system 1 per power car

GSM link 1 per power car

GPS link 1 in luggage car

Digital I/O 3 to 10 modules per car

Analogue I/O 2 to 5 modules per car