Railway Intelligence Mar. 2017

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Four Important Considerations When Developing an Easy-to-Manage Modern Rail Station

In order to conserve energy and protect the environment, commuters are often encouraged to use mass transportation systems, such as railways, as opposed to private vehicles. At railway stations, multiple systems can be found that help ensure a safe and fast travel experience for passengers including a Passenger Information System (PIS) and Public Address (PA) system, to provide real-time travel information for passengers. On station platforms, CCTV surveillance and Platform Screen Door (PSD) systems are essential for passenger safety. All of these systems must be integrated with the subsystems that already exist at railway stations, including power, SCADA, Access Control (ACS), signaling, and emergency phones. In order to manage all of these subsystems at the rail station, operators based at a control center will utilize the Integrated Supervisory Control System (ISCS).

The number of subsystems being utilized at rail stations is constantly increasing in order to enhance passengers’ traveling experience. Even though the ISCS does simplify the operators’ job, the push for increased passenger comfort has unfortunately made the network structure more complex, which has made it difficult to maintain efficient operations. For modern rail stations, the key concern for owners is how to enhance operational efficiency.

Building a Simple but Reliable ISCS

1. Choosing Devices with High Port Density and Multiple Interfaces is the First Step to Help Simplify Network Operation

In order to efficiently manage all of the subsystems at the rail station, it’s important for the ISCS to include devices with high port density and multiple interfaces. This is because there are multiple subsystems deployed inside rail stations that often include different interfaces such as serial or Ethernet. Devices that have high port density and multiple interfaces with the capability to handle both legacy devices and IP networks can significantly reduce the number of devices required at rail stations and therefore simplify network operations.

2. The Trend for ISCS is to Have Physically Isolated Ports for Each Subsystem

Although there are switches that provide multiple interfaces and large bandwidth availability for integrated systems such as ISCS, most of the switches are designed to operate under the same broadcast domain. When multiple subsystems are processed under one single broadcast domain, the VLAN is often used to separate the traffic on the network to minimize the interference to other subsystems. However, as more and more subsystems are frequently being integrated into ISCSs, the complexity of setting a VLAN makes it difficult for operators to handle and increases the possibility of creating a broadcast storm. The devices used for ISCS should have a physically isolated independent LAN port to eliminate packet loss, as well as enhance traffic efficiency across the network and keep the ISCS stable

3. Industrial Grade Design Guarantees System Longevity

The longer a system at the rail station remains operational will decrease the amount of work operators need to perform. Some of the challenges found in industrial settings include, extreme temperatures, dust particles and other particulates, and limited airflow. To withstand these conditions, industrial grade systems should be deployed that have components with much higher MTBF values and rugged designs that protect against harsh environments. Industrial environments can greatly affect the performance of computers, and result in systems overheating and eventually crashing. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can also cause damage to internal components, thus reducing system uptime and the longevity of the system. Therefore, a fanless computing system design with effective heat dissipation and electromagnetic protection is essential for smooth operations. When designing an ISCS, industrial grade devices will help to reduce maintenance costs and effort in the long run.

4. Minimize System Downtime with Easy Maintenance and Fast Troubleshooting

Systems such as an ISCS that connect with multiple subsystems inside the rail station require a smart solution to minimize the possibility of system failure. In order to avoid system downtime, a predictive maintenance solution that can monitor the status of key parts inside the system and send alerts when the system values exceed the predefined threshold is beneficial. This allows the ISCS to avoid downtime by notifying operators of any unusual events and allows the operator to perform corrective maintenance before downtime occurs.

Moxa’s DA-720 Series Rackmount Computers Simplify your ISCS

The DA-720-DPP series computers are x86 platforms with 14 gigabit Ethernet ports, 2 isolated RS-232/422/485 serial ports, USB 3.0, VGA and DVI-I display ports, and 2 PCIe ports for expansion modules.

he DA-720-DPP comes in a standard 19-inch 2U rack-mountable case with a robust design ideal for use at specialized industrial automation applications such as rail stations. Compliance with the EN 50121-4 standard confirms that the DA-720-DPP can deliver stable and reliable system operations in rail applications. At train stations, ISCS, wayside control, and monitoring systems require a powerful front-end processor to control the local SCADA system and traction power substation. The expandable serial interfaces (up to 18 ports) and 14 gigabit Ethernet ports (up to 22 ports) enable the integration of station subsystems, including AFC, PAS, PSD, and FAS, on a single platform. Wayside applications, disaster prevention, traction power, signaling and safety systems can all be utilized to provide an integrated view of your smart rail setup.

DA-720 Series Rackmount Computers

  • EN 50121-4 compliant for railway wayside applications
  • IEC 61850-3, IEEE 1613, and IEC 60255 compliant for traction power substation automation systems
  • 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5 CPU (Skylake)
  • 14 gigabit Ethernet ports for network redundancy (up to 22 ports)
  • 2 isolated RS-232/422/485 ports (up to 18 ports)
  • Predictive maintenance solution for monitoring the status of key parts of the computer and issuing alerts
  • Smart recovery function minimizes downtime by making it easy to recover from system crashes
  • Supports DDR4 memory and super high speed USB 3.0
  • Supports 110 to 240 VDC and 100 to 240 VAC multi-power inputs

To learn more about our DA-720 rackmount computers, visit the microsite.