Interoperable ATO over ETCS is the key concept for future european-wide automation of mainline railway operations. an early implementation project in the Mexico-Toluca line is already running under this concept. valuable experience and feedback is expected from this project, led by CAF Signalling.
The application of Automatic Train Operation in conjunction with ETCS Level 2 is being pioneered on a new line project in Mexico. This very early implementation, coordinated and developed by CAF Signalling, is the Mexico-Toluca commuter line. This is a new line of 58 kilometres of double track, electrified at 25kV AC, with five new stations that will give service to more than 800.000 people.
This high-density commuter line has been designed according to usual “distance to go” principles applied to metropolitan railways, with Grade of Automation GoA2 for train operation.
Driving between stations will be automatic, and drivers will be required to close doors and operate the train during periods of disruption.
The implementation of ETCS is according to the SRS 2.3.0d (Baseline 2). Although the works for developing the ATO over ETCS specifications have been made in the context of Baseline 3 ETCS, this early implementation is demonstrating that it works also with Baseline 2.
The more significant conclusion is that a standard and interoperable approach to Automation at GoA2 is feasible, applying ETCS as the standard ATP to guarantee Safety and an ATO implementation according to the draft specs of the ATO over ETCS concept.ATO and ETCS have been put together with a high degree on functional independency between them.
ATO over ETCS is a powerful concept stressing interoperability and standardization. It can be applied to a specific line such as Mexico-Toluca with a project-oriented approach. But the concept itself is oriented to the wide, open railway system. The key advantage is that an equipped train will be able to run with automatic driving in any equipped section of the network. This will simplify the deployment and the migration, decreasing the needed investments and providing higher benefits to the railway system operation.