BRAZIL: The pilot section of MRS Logística's broad-gauge network equipped with SIACO communications-based train control was officially released for full commercial operation on June 1, two months later than planned following a period of intensive field testing.

The 35 km section of the busy Pombal - Guaíba branch, together with four stations, is the pilot for a five-phase programme to install CBTC across the entire MRS network. The pilot installation has been overlaid on the existing lineside signalling, so that the route can be used by both CBTC-equipped and non-fitted trains. Following the formal release, the CBTC is now in full operation 24 h per day.

In the final week of testing MRS operated around 50 trains through the section without any delays or problems caused by the signalling or communication systems According to the railway, just three events were recorded - one tachometer fault, one power supply failure to a lineside Object Controller while a train was passing through its control area, and one operational error when a driver failed to reduce speed in accordance with the required braking curve.

Under the contract awarded in 2006 to a consortium of Alstom, EADS and Accenture-Atan, around 200 route-km linking Rio de Janeiro, Guaíba and Barra Mansa is due to be equipped for CBTC operation by mid-2009, with SIACO to be rolled out across the rest of the 1 674 km network by the end of 2010.