Trackside Axle Counting Network

Westermo line extenders and switches help manage train movements from Cardiff Central

New trackside axle counting system being introduced as part of the Cardiff Signalling Renewal project required the installation of an IP-based network. Paul Carney, Engineering Manager at Atkins describes how technology and services from Westermo are providing a robust and resilient platform for data communications.

The Cardiff Area Signalling Renewal (CASR) project is a major scheme to replace life-expired signalling and associated power and distribution equipment across 192 route miles of track between Newport and Port Talbot, covering the Vale of Glamorgan and Valleys areas. Network Rail awarded the signalling and power distribution contracts to Atkins who are delivering this comprehensive signalling project through five separate phases and carefully managed stage works to minimise passenger and freight disruptions.

The CASR project is a technically challenging project and one of the first major schemes to use the latest innovations such as plug couplers and new train detection technology to help save time and money. The Frauscher digital axle counters (FAdC) chosen by Atkins for train detection, require an IP-based network supporting Network Rails national engineering strategy which is to move towards IP based systems which have lower installation costs and are easier to install. In addition, IP-based solutions are easier to integrate with ground system data networks and are easy and straightforward to maintain.

To support the use of this new technology, Atkins needed a data communications company that could not only supply robust products that had the necessary approvals, but could also provide technical support and installation advice for this difficult application.

Atkins was familiar with Westermo as a supplier of high performance communication products and had previously used its modems on a number of systems and projects. For the Vale of Glamorgan line, which had very basic signalling and no communications network, Atkins selected Westermo Wolverine DDW-225 line extenders to provide the basis of a robust and resilient IP- based communications network.

In total, Westermo is supplying over 170 line extenders for the CASR project. These are being installed in trackside signal location cabinets near to the FAdCs to provide information on rail movements and enable access to diagnostics from the FAdCs and the power supplies.


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