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Old June 7th, 2016, 02:24 PM   #641
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
As Memor is only an aid to remember the double yellow lights and will not do anything when a train passes red, it could be a driver error.
The line may not be equipped with the additional TBL1+ beacons some 300m in front of signals, but should have TBL1 beacons at each of the signals themselves.

In order to drive into the rear of a train ahead, assuming properly operating signalling, the driver had to acknowledge passing a double yellow, do nothing and then pass a red, which would have triggered a brake penalty.

Now a train travelling at 120 km/h with a brake delay of 5 seconds and a deceleration of -1,2 m/s^2, takes 12 seconds to slow down to 90 km/h, but had already covered 370m by then. To come to a full stop it needs roughly 33 seconds and 630m, which sounds about right.

I don't know signal block length at the accident site, but when overshooting a signal by 370m into an occupied block, hitting the rear of the train occupying the block doesn't sound unrealistic to me.
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Old June 7th, 2016, 02:43 PM   #642
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Indeed, but I've read stories from people who were on the train that said they didn't feel any strong braking until the collision itself. That's why I'm not yet fully convinced TBL1+ is installed at that point. Then again, people tend not to be a good source of information after such an incident.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 12:25 PM   #643
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Apparently the information is confirmed (article in Dutch). There was no TBL1+ installed at that signal. Whether or not that could have prevented the incident is not completely certain though, as it could be that the signal was failing due to the power surge just before. If the signal didn't work any more, I presume the beacon in the tracks wouldn't have sent out any data either. To solve that the system would need to indicate when the train should expect to find the next beacon, like in ETCS.

But again: that is purely based on assumptions.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 12:40 PM   #644
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Yes, it starts appearing in the French-speaking press too. There will probably be some difficult explanations to provide by the management of Infrabel, if this proves to be true.

http://fr.newsmonkey.be/article/3967
http://www.dhnet.be/actu/belgique/ac...702a22d821889e

And the equipment of the station of Hermalle sous Huy was planned for 2015, see document below :

http://www.infrabel.be/sites/default...-02-tbl1_3.pdf

Last edited by MarcVD; June 8th, 2016 at 12:46 PM.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 12:47 PM   #645
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Can anybody confirm this:
  1. Every non-HSL main line signal in Belgium is equipped with a crocodile and/or TBL1 beacon
  2. When passing a green signal with a crocodile and/or TBL1 beacon a chime or bell sounds and no further action is needed
  3. When passing a yellow signal with a crocodile and/or TBL1 beacon the driver has to acknowledge passing the signal, otherwise there will be a brake penalty. After acknowledgement an indication is displayed in the drivers cab and it is up to the driver to take appropriate action.
  4. When passing a red signal with a TBL1 beacon there is always a brake penalty, except for some explicit exceptions
  5. Some signals are also equipped with an additional TBL1+ beacon 300m in front of the signal, that ensures that a train has reduced it's speed to under 40 km/h when approaching a red signal

Now my questions:
  1. Is point 4 of the previous statements correct?
  2. When equipped with crocodile are a red and yellow signal treated the same, e.g. can you pass a red signal just by acknowledging it?
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Old June 8th, 2016, 01:10 PM   #646
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I'm no expert on it, but I've read quite a bit on the signalling so I'll have a stab at it:
  1. Yes, some segments even have ETCS installed, usually with fallback to crocodile and TBL1+ (TBL1 without the plus is another train security system that has been discontinued). These TBL1+ beacons are the same as the ones used for ETCS, so they'll basically just have to receive a software upgrade later on when they want to install ETCS on the line.
  2. Indeed.
  3. Indeed.
  4. I'm not sure which exceptions that would be. I think it is possible to stop such an alarm, but then the maximum speed is limited to 40 km/h until you've passed another beacon.
  5. They are mainly installed before signals that guard switches. At full speed that might not always be enough to fully prevent a signal overrun though.

As for the second question: crocodile/Memor use current to indicate the state of the signal. Green and yellow use negative and positive current respectively. I'm not completely sure whether red also uses positive current. It could be that it works the same as passing a yellow or it could even be that there is no current (and thus no indication in the cab) at all. Either way, the system only supports two states, which is too limited. That is why it will be discontinued in the short term.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 02:33 PM   #647
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With exceptions I meant trains that are explicitly allowed to pass the red signal, for instance during shunting or when instructed by the signaller.

As for the crocodile: It seems that on a red signal the crocodile has no current, therefore the system can't detect that at all. Also just some 13% of signals is equipped with TBL1, before installation was halted in the early 90's.

That means that in Belgium the lion's share of signals have no TBL1+ beacons, most likely no TBL1 beacons either, just crocodiles. Thus essentially no technical protection against SPADs whatsoever. Wow, that's a chilling thought.
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Old June 8th, 2016, 03:10 PM   #648
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I've just found this document (Dutch, other languages) detailing which line has which system installed. I would presume that an indication of a protection system there refers to all the signals, though that document says "TBL1+ (except Aigremont)" for line 125.

It's true though that many lines still don't have a proper protection system on all signals. The most dangerous ones (= most trains or in front of switches) have been covered by now, but it won't be before 2022 that all tracks are properly protected with ETCS according to the current planning.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 08:48 AM   #649
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Ever since the EU mandated ERTMS for all new builds, it doesn't allow any changes to national safety systems any more, except for really major safety improvements. It seems further development and deployment of the national safety systems in pretty much all European countries has come to a halt, while deployment of ERTMS is also on a snails pace. It seems only the countries with the oldest and most obsolete systems are really making an effort to switch to ERTMS.

TBL1+ is currently in the same state as ATB-VV in the Netherlands. They've fitted the signals at the potentially most dangerous locations by now, but the accidents now happen at unfitted locations. They've put a price tag on safety and assessed that faster deployment isn't worth it.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 11:12 AM   #650
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I confirm what has been said above.

Green = negative = gong, no further action needed
Any restrictive aspect = positive = acknowledgement needed, or emergency stop
Red or shunting or signal approached from the back = no tension, no action

Note that it's been like that for decades, not only in Belgium but also in France
and certainly also many other countries, with a safety record that was not very
different from countries having a SPAD protection system in place, like ATB
for NS and Indusi for DB.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 11:33 AM   #651
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We started getting in the press and on TV embarrassed explications from
Infrabel people, saying that the 99,9% coverage means "efficiency" coverage
and not in numbers of signals equipped. No political reactions for the moment.
Minister in charge was interrogated by the political opposition but answered
that he did not want to interfere with the official inquiry. I suppose he won't
be able to stay in that position for a very long time. Just as a reminder, this
minister is the guy who was president of the parliamentary commission in
charge of the inquiry after the Buizingen disaster.

As a side note, I'll mention that apparently, only 75% of the block signals
are equipped with a TBL1+ beacon.

I also found a document saying that the equipment of the Hermalle sous Huy
site was planned for 2015 and would contribute for 0,06% of the TBL1+ deployment efficiency.

I don't get how they could claim to have achieved a 99,9% total efficiency if
this site contributes, with only 6 signals, for 0,06% and there are still hundreds of others to equip.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 01:14 PM   #652
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcVD View Post
Note that it's been like that for decades, not only in Belgium but also in France and certainly also many other countries, with a safety record that was not very different from countries having a SPAD protection system in place, like ATB for NS and Indusi for DB.
The most important safety feature of any train is the hopefully well trained driver. In 99,99% of cases he/she will probably mitigate any unsafe situation. The remaining 0,01% is however still significant enough to warrant extra protection, because we have all seen what could go wrong when the driver fails.

The Netherlands didn't have any SPAD protection on ATB-EG fitted tracks before 2008, when they started fitting trains and 'dangerous' track locations with ATB-VV equipment. Unfitted red signals - before 2008 all signals! - can be passed without any indication to the driver as long as you don't exceed 40 km/h. There are probably less signals fitted with ATB-VV then there are signals fitted with TBL1+ and that that's very unlikely to change. So no, the Netherlands isn't doing any better when it comes to SPAD protection.
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Old June 9th, 2016, 04:10 PM   #653
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M-NL View Post
The Netherlands didn't have any SPAD protection on ATB-EG fitted tracks before 2008
What was the purpose of the previous version of ATB then ?
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Old June 10th, 2016, 08:57 AM   #654
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Speed limit surveillance only.
SPAD protection was originally not added, because they deemed a SPAD unlikely, because the train is already forced to below 40 km/h after a passing a yellow signal.
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Old June 10th, 2016, 11:19 PM   #655
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Most of all other possible causes for accident have been eliminated. Now, without tackling these more expensive issues (such as SPAD), it will be very hard to reduce accident rate even with improved driver training. Hence, ERTMS-2/3 is a necessity.

There are other issues I'd like to see addressed in general, such as foreign object intrusion, with a system-wide detection mechanism (should be not that expensive with cheap modern cameras and sensors that can put all trackage under surveillance)
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Old June 11th, 2016, 12:46 PM   #656
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But that's the beauty of TBL1+. It is non-other then a switchable Eurobalise, that you are going to need in the future for ERTMS anyway.

So fit the balises now for added protection and reprogram them once you switch to ERTMS. A solid future proof solution if there ever was one.

The only things are money and capacity. Does Infrabel have enough budget to do this? Do the contractors have enough capacity to do the fitting?
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Old August 30th, 2016, 12:41 AM   #657
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
The Mechelen in Beweging project is quite peculiar and it raises question for which I barely find answers for. But maybe someone in this forum could explain one particular question I have: Why is spoorlijn 25N proposed to join spoorlijn 27B and further on spoorlijn 27 instead of spoorlijn 25 as it is now? This extension of spoorlijn 25N doesn't make sense to me, at least not in the way it is depicted in the plans and models of this project.

Just for those not too familiar with these line numbers: Spoorlijn 25N is the high-speed line form Brussels to Mechelen and was built as part of the Diablo project.
Spoorlijn 25 and 27 are the two classic railway line from Brussels to Antwerpen. The former is not only the faster of the two, its tracks do also lead straight down to the through-tracks of Antwerpen Centraal. That makes spoorlijn 25 a lot more suitable for fast services to and from the Netherlands.
And spoorlijn 27B is the by-pass around Mechelen mainly for freight trains.
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Old August 30th, 2016, 01:00 AM   #658
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It's all about at-grade connections. If you connect line 25N to line 25, quite often one train will have to wait for another. You want these tracks to cross with a bridge or tunnel first, for which there is space between Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and Sint-Katelijne-Waver. In the long run, there are plans to have a 'high-speed' junction to get from line 27 to line 25. There will still be an at-grade crossing with line 27, but this is deemed to be a smaller issue than having an at-grade crossing with line 25.

Note: these are conclusions I've made myself based on the little pieces of information given to me. I never had a full confirmation that these are the actual plans or that this is the actual reason for this.
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Old August 30th, 2016, 07:49 AM   #659
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Wow, I discovered that today and came here with the very same question. Thanks for doing the job for me

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glodenox View Post
You want these tracks to cross with a bridge or tunnel first, for which there is space between Mechelen-Nekkerspoel and Sint-Katelijne-Waver. In the long run, there are plans to have a 'high-speed' junction to get from line 27 to line 25. There will still be an at-grade crossing with line 27, but this is deemed to be a smaller issue than having an at-grade crossing with line 25.
North of Nekkerspoel there's not even the need for extra flyovers: they just need to add a pair of short connectors to the flyovers of line 27B, and in this way line 25N would end up into line 25 with no contact with line 27.
It looks they already reserved the right-of-way for this job. The southbound link could be built tomorrow morning, it's just linking two parallel tracks. Northbound requires some 1000 m of new track and a new bridge over a local road.

The only at-grade crossing would be south of Nekkerspoel, where line 27B separates towards Muizen, and it's not a big deal for fast traffic because northbound freight trains can be left waiting with no problems.

Like flierfy is was not convinced by this setup at first, but now it looks fine. Quite efficient use of the flyovers, actually.
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Old August 30th, 2016, 09:38 AM   #660
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Every time I pass Mechelen I'm btw surprised by the rapid progress, knowing the bureaucratic hassles. I wish more projects in Belgium could do the same (yes, I'm looking at you RER/GEN!). But good news for Mechelen. The plans look a massive improvement over the old station.
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