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How do you make sure your upgrade runs smoothly?

 
One of the biggest improvements a metro operator can make is replacing traditional signalling with a communications-based train control system, such as SelTracTM CBTC.
 
Modernising a network presents two challenges. First, disturbance to passengers must be minimised. Second, there’s the need to make the best use of access time on the track. With round-the-clock metro services becoming popular, trackside timeslots are increasingly valuable – and scarce.
 
Thales has built up a huge body of experience in metro re-signalling since its first brownfield upgrade back in 1995. Since then, the company has invested in tools and techniques to ensure that installation goes without a hitch. Here are some of them:
 

Factory testing

Traditional re-signalling relies heavily on in-situ testing. Thales’ approach is to carry out as much testing as possible in the lab or factory instead, reducing the amount of time spent trackside.
 

Performance monitoring

A real-time monitoring technique perfected by Thales, with new equipment powered-on but not controlling the railway. Data logs from equipment running in ‘shadow’ mode are collected round the clock, so engineers can be certain everything is performing exactly as it should.
 

Switch in/switch out

Secure switching between existing and new signalling is integral to smooth implementation. This allows engineers to work on the new system in non-traffic hours, then switch back safely to the old system when it’s time for normal services to resume.

Control centre familiarisation

Setting up temporary workstations in the existing Operation Control Centre provides staff with the chance to get familiar with the new system before changeover.
 

Working together

Good communication between the customer and supplier is the bedrock of smooth delivery. There’s no substitute for face-to-face problem solving, so setting up a joint project office is essential.