Capacity improvement and obsolescence management are the primary reasons for deploying Communications Based Train Control (CBTC) technology to replace conventional track circuit-based signaling systems like in New York City Transit (NYCT), Baltimore Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) or the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART). Resignaling projects without stopping revenue operations are highly complex and are referred as brownfield train control projects.

The Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) subsystem in a CBTC System is responsible for monitoring and regulating train operations. The ATS’ responsibilities include functions such as identifying trains, tracking and displaying trains, setting speed restrictions and work zones, automatic and manual routing capabilities. In addition, the ATS serves as the Human Machine Interface (HMI) between Train Controllers at the Operations Control Center (OCC).

One of the challenges in brownfield train control projects is fitting a CBTC ATS subsystem into an already existing Operations Control Center (OCC). The console in the operating theater will need to host both the existing system and the new CBTC ATS workstation. Similarly, the technical rooms may already be at capacity but still need to accommodate the CBTC system in addition to the legacy system for the transition period.

Transferring the OCC to a new building is often part of the modernization program and is the ideal method to mitigate space constraints. However, CBTC deployment is not always associated with transfer to a new larger building with a large OCC theater. Transfer to the new OCC with more space may be done before the CBTC deployment or at the same time as the CBTC revenue service. When there is no new larger OCC, solutions need to be investigated to accommodate both the legacy system and the new CBTC at the existing OCC.

Advancements in virtual technology provides a more efficient solution that reduces the amount of physical space an ATS needs in the OCC without compromising communication and processing speed or capabilities.

This paper describes the different equipment and functionalities of an ATS subsystem and the challenge of fitting each piece into an existing OCC while keeping the legacy system. The paper then discusses the basic technology behind networking, defining the concept of machine virtualization at a high level, and how all these technologies may be used to solve the ATS challenges faced during CBTC resignaling projects.

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