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Development of a replacement Centralised Traffic Control Centre

A Centralised Traffic Control Centre is the nerve centre for management and regulation of train movements on the Iarnród Éireann network. The current real-time customer information provided at station platforms and via social media is based on data collected and issued from the existing Centralised Traffic Control Centre.

Planning for the replacement of the existing Iarnród Éireann Centralised Traffic Control Centre is now necessary due to capacity restraints with the existing facility and the technological age of existing IT systems.

A modern replacement Centralised Traffic Control Centre will integrate signalling and communications control across the entire Iarnród Éireann network, and thereby optimising rail traffic management and origin to destination performance. A significant customer benefit of the new Centralised Traffic Control Centre will be increased train performance and the availability of accurate real-time travel information for trip planning. 

Funding for the preparation of a staging strategy and for the design of the new Centralised Traffic Control Centre is being provided by the Irish Government (through the National Transport Authority), with co-financing from the Innovation & Networks Agency of the European Commission.

Background

The existing Iarnród Éireann Centralised Traffic Control centre is located in Connolly Station and dates to the 1970’s, with a significant extension in the 1980’s to facilitate control of the DART. As Iarnród Éireann has replaced and upgraded its track, signalling and communications infrastructure the work load has increased on the existing Centralised Traffic Control centre. The existing Centralised Traffic Control centre is operating at capacity and with aged technology. At present approximately 75% of the rail network (approximately 1500km) is controlled from the existing centre. The remaining 25% is controlled at a number of local locations throughout the network and cannot be integrated with the existing Centralised Traffic Control centre due to the capacity constraints.

Benefits

A new replacement Centralised Traffic Control Centre will provide the following benefits:

  • All traffic control will be integrated in a single location, using modern and industry standard technology.
  • Heavy rail traffic control will be optimised across the Iarnród Éireann network.
  • The full benefits of investment in track, signalling and communications infrastructure over the past decade will be realised when the entire network is controlled from a single location.
  • The replacement centre will be future proofed to allow for integration of planned and potential network infrastructure developments and improvements on the heavy rail network.

This will also benefit the Iarnród Éireann customer as follows:

  • Improvements in the real-time customer information services provided to the customer.
  • Control of the entire network from a single location will lead to improvements in the management of service disruptions, reducing the impact to passengers.

Current Status

A Staging Strategy for migration from the existing to new Centralised Traffic Control centre has been completed. The report concludes that the replacement Centralised Traffic Control centre will be required in the period 2018-2022, due to increasing obsolescence risks posed by the existing technology and control workstation ergonomics. To meet this commissioning date, the design phase is now commencing. 

The new Centralised Traffic Control centre will address all the operational risks and benefits identified in the Staging Proposal and will ensure that the existing  Centralised Traffic Control centre provides continued safe train control management and regulation in the in the short term.

Consolidation and integration of train control functions in a modern centralised traffic control centre is required to optimising the existing network, and is also required to facilitate control of future expansion of the heavy rail network.

Iarnród Éireann is currently progressing with the design of the replacement Centralised Traffic Control centre, while in tandem undertaking refurbishments and interim interventions in the existing Centralised Traffic Control centre to minimise risks and continue effective traffic control.

For More Information on the project please contact:

Programme Manager, Railway Systems
Iarnród Éireann
Engineering Building
CIÉ Inchicore Works
Dublin 8

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