On the Le Noirmont – La Chaux-de-Fonds rail line in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, BÄR Bahnsicherung has for the first time deployed the new Eurolocking electronic interlocking based on HIMA safety controllers. The benefits of the high integration capability, performance and compact design of the CENELEC SIL4 compliant interlocking are proven in practice at the Bellevue station of the Swiss transportation company Les Chemins de fer du Jura.
Bellevue is a junction station with two sidings that have a large volume of shunting traffic and are therefore implemented with secured shunting routes. Integrating the interlocking into the existing control system and interfacing to the nearby interlockings already in place, which were implemented with the TMN 840/841 block interface widely used in Switzerland, were significant challenges during project execution.
Easy integration of all elements
A basic component of the Eurolocking solution is the use of SIL4 certified HIMax safety PLCs as main computers. Using a standardized COTS safety system enables easy integration of diverse components. For example, BÄR was able to smoothly integrate the system bus and the interfaces with the standardized HIMA systems in cooperation with Frauscher Systemtechnik. That formed the basis for uniform connection of all field components. Another advantage of easy integration is that BÄR was able to develop a compact interlocking with significant space savings.
Availability is especially important with interlockings. As a plug-and-play system with hot-swap functionality, the HIMax controller enables fast component replacement and system modifications during ongoing operation. The subsystems utilize the smaller HIMatrix controllers, which also fulfill extremely high safety requirements but are designed for a smaller number of I/O ports. These compact, high-performance devices are particularly suitable for use in distributed time-critical applications.
System installation at the Bellevue station was completed in June 2018, with trial operation starting on September 14. Thanks to cooperation with HIMA, BÄR was able to draw on a network that provided a solid basis for new product development. Interlockings based on the same platform have already been implemented by Movares for the Dutch National Railways and for the public transport operator NÖVOG in Austria.
Using standard control technology from HIMA enabled development of an interlocking that fulfills applicable industry standards (CENELEC), offers low life cycle costs and optimal integration capability as a stand-alone solution, and is suitable for line applications. The standardized communications and programming of the HIMatrix simplify handling and integration of the controllers into an existing system. Modularity and scalability enable optimal adaptation to the needs of the application and make the interlocking solution future-proof.
“Easy integration of components from different manufacturers was especially important for us in the development of the Eurolocking electronic interlocking. Using a HIMA safety controller as an open safety system fulfilled all of our expectations in that regard,” says Beat Fehr, Managing Partner and Head of Sales at BÄR Bahnsicherung. “Thanks to the COTS solution from HIMA, we were able to develop a highly flexible, scalable and cost-effective product.”