Between 1875 and 1964, trams operated in the capital of the small country of Luxembourg, providing passengers with transportation. Then they were shut down. Since last year, the Tram is back. On 10 December 2017 – much faster than planned – operator Luxtram inaugurated the first leg. On a 3.5 km stretch between Luxexpo and Pont Rouge, eight stops were put into operation, including two transfer platforms. As part of a modernization effort, the signal systems along the route were renewed by Mobility and were equipped with powerful safety controls from HIMA. The result: Luxtram was able to significantly increase train frequency and thus the capacity of the Tram.
Modern safety technology
Experts estimate that the number of professional commuters in Luxembourg will double by 2030. The reactivation of the tram lines is a measure intended to cope with this high volume. In order for the Tram to be able to resume operations, Luxtram awarded the French rail specialist Mobility, with the target to deploy signalling system in accordance with highest safety requirements: SIL4. Instead of a system with conventional N.S1 relays, plans called for a space-saving solution with programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Mobility took the opportunity to deploy his new concept based on HIMA Safety PLC. At the same time, the plan was to also significantly increase the frequency of the trams in order to increase the number of transported passengers and to ensure the Tram‘s longevity for the future.
The experts from Mobility worked closely together with the French HIMA branch on the design of the safety technology. The goal was to develop a signaling solution that complies with the SIL4 safety level according to CENELEC and install it directly on the tracks. The solution: modern COTS safety controllers from HIMA.
Luxtram and Mobility’s decision is in line with the trend: more and more system integrators and railway operators worldwide rely on standardized, open safety systems to meet the requirements of urban transport with the increasing volume of passengers, increasing connectivity, limited installation space and digitalization.
By using the HIMA technology, Luxtram was able to save substantial space in the track area: the new control cabinets were able to be optimally integrated into the architecture of the stops and transfer platforms. At the LuxExpo stop, the installation of HIMA safety controller solution in compact control cabinet directly on the track saved the costs and issues caused by building of an entire technical room measuring 3 x 7 meters when using old fashion technology. Large technical rooms like those used in traditional relay solutions are not only a major challenge for planners due to the lack of space in urban trams: they are also an additional cost factor when they e.g. need to be laid underground near the tracks in a densely built-up area. "The Luxtram project is the first time we used HIMA safety controllers, because they comply with CENELEC SIL4 and have already proven themselves in numerous safety-critical applications," explains Stephane BERTHET, Business Unit Manager Light Rail Signalling at Mobility. "Thanks to the good cooperation with HIMA's safety specialists, we were able to complete the project faster than planned and implement a signaling system that‘s future-proof and offers easy handling."
The technical details
PLC instead of relay
- Three CENELEC SIL4 certified safety controllers type HIMatrix
- Long-term availability of at least 20 years in terms of spare parts and retrofit
- The entire tram route can be monitored centrally
- The Luxtram project was the first tram project with HIMatrix controllers
- More than 50 axle counters and 150 induction loops were installed on the leg