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2016 - July - Heibel - CBTC Versus ETCS - Score and Fore 2016 - July - Heibel - CBTC Versus ETCS - Score and Forecast HOT

Modern in-cab signalling can increase capacity beyond the limits of conventional legacy systems and also improve service punctuality. The present market for in-cab signalling is divided in two segments. For mainline railways on a national level, the European Train Control System (ETCS) is preferred by railway operators well beyond the reach of European legislation. For high performance metro-style city railways, Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) is the solution of choice. Both technologies have different purposes and histories and consequentially developed distinct strengths but also weaknesses.

The suburban railway systems in the major Australian cities appear in a transition from a mainline legacy to high capacity metro ambitions. The technology selection between ETCS and CBTC is therefore less straightforward with no clear "right" or "wrong" and examples for either system evolving in Australia. However, operators need to recognise and accept the consequences of selecting either technology.

The paper concludes with an outlook on further development of both technologies, which concentrates on addressing the individual shortcomings while maintaining existing advantages. The evolving subject of "convergence" between ETCS and CBTC will be discussed to assess whether there will be only one "best" signalling technology in the future.


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AuthorDr Frank Heibel FIRSE
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Changed byNick Hughes

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