SŽDC continuously enhancing rail traffic safety
Prague – Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) continuously increases the level of protection of Czech lines. Beyond the scope of requirements resulting from valid legislation and European standards we install state-of-the-art signalling installations on the railway infrastructure. They increase the efficiency of the already highly functional precautionary measures in case of contingencies.
„Passenger safety was, is and will always be the top priority for SŽDC,“ stresses Jiří Kolář, Director General. „All signalling installations naturally comply with all domestic and international criteria and standards,“ he added. However, SŽDC keeps enhancing the level of rail traffic safety.
As part of the present investment projects we install e.g. state-of-the-art systems for the prevention of „passing by the Stop signal“, even despite the fact that it is limited by the system properties of the national automatic train control and by available technical means to deal with these issues.
In the past the administrator of the Czech railway infrastructure carried out the installation of the uniform European Train Control System – ERTMS/ETCS in selected track sections. E.g. the construction project „ETCS – I Corridor, track section Kolín – Břeclav state border with Austria/Slovakia“ is being implemented and the completion date is 12/2014. There are preparations for the construction project „ETCS – I Corridor, track section state border with Germany – Dolní Žleb – Prague – Libeň – Kolín“ with anticipated completion date 12/2017.
„During the ETCS implementation we proceed in line with the national implementation plan that has been approved by the Ministry of Transport and is being updated this year,“ Jiří Kolář, Director General commented on the installation progress. „For the ETCS implementation it is necessary to draft construction projects in a linear way and with regard to the efficiency of the signalling installation to provide information necessary for the system operation. The best results in the safety area, however, can only be achieved by equipping the traction units of all carriers with the mobile component of the installation,“ SŽDC´s Director pointed out the complexity of the installation.
The other important preventive step is a progressive implementation of the system „Warning against unpermitted passing by the signal – VNPN“. It represents the functionality of electronic interlocking that can alleviate the impacts of possible passing by the Stop signal. At present, this system is used in a few railway stations where the clear line of the track sections is monitored by axle counters.
„After the confirmed passing by the Stop signal, the operator (train dispatcher/traffic controller) must be immediately informed about this fact and if the train continues, an automatic command is generated (general stop) to stop trains in the network of the Railway Radio System – TRS,“ Jiří Kolář describes the regime. „In 2013 all new electronic interlocking devices with axle counters will be equipped specifically with this functionality VNPN,“ concludes SŽDC´s Director General.
In terms of the quality level of the signalling systems installed on the main railway lines, the Czech Republic meets European standards. We can be rightfully compared with all the neighbouring states. Despite all the attempts to introduce state-of-the-art technologies, operating staff will always hold the most responsibility for the passenger safety. Therefore they have to be carefully selected, continuously trained, their skills improved and supervised to make sure that passengers are safe all the time.
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