CBTC Peer Group Meeting #5




March 26, 1998




WMATA, Washington DC










Fred Childs


(201) 216 6648

(201) 216 6576

Patty DeVlieg


(415) 554 3465

(415) 554 3478

Vic Grappone


(718) 558 3547

(718) 558 3537

Geoff Hubbs


(212) 492 8495

(212) 492 8145

Chris Jenks


(202) 334 3089

(202) 334 2006

Seyed Hosseini


(914) 271 1737

(914) 271 1644

John Lewis


(617) 222 5540

(617) 222 3918

Ron Lindsey


(904) 366 5399

(904) 359 3904

Martin Lukes


(202) 962 1111

(202) 962 2437

Rob McHugh

BCRTC (SkyTrain)

(604) 520 3641

(604) 521 2818

Bob Miller


(510) 287 4931

(510) 287 4887

Venkat Pindiprolu


(202) 366 8061

(202) 366 3765

Alan Rumsey

PTG - De Leuw, Cather

(212) 266 8527

(212) 266 8536

John Vogler


(973) 491 8117

(973) 491 8479

Minutes prepared by: Dr. Alan F. Rumsey



The objective of the CBTC Peer Group meetings is to provide a forum for transit agencies to share past experiences, and discuss future plans, with respect to implementation of Communications-Based Train Control systems. The peer group meetings also provide a means for transit agencies to explore common operational needs, and operational differences, which may influence CBTC standardization initiatives.

 The group has committed to actively support the efforts of the IEEE Rail Transit Vehicle Interface Standards Committee, Working Group 2 in developing a CBTC performance/functional requirements standard, and to promote the use of such a standard in future CBTC procurements.


2.1 Welcome

 Marty Lukes (WMATA) welcomed the participants to this fifth meeting of the CBTC Peer Group.

 2.2 Previous Meeting Minutes

 Minutes of CBTC Peer Group Meeting #4 held at LIRR on November 6, 1997 were reviewed and accepted as written.

 2.3 Use of Web Sites for Posting CBTC Peer Group Minutes

The Peer Group confirmed that minutes of the CBTC Peer Group meetings could be posted on the web site maintained by Tom Sullivan (www.tsd.org), provided the minutes had been reviewed prior to posting.


 3.1 BART

 Bob Miller (BART) summarized the status of the BART AATC project, indicating that this project represented a major commitment by BART to CBTC technology.

 The Phase I demonstrations of the proposed AATC system, completed in mid 1996, convinced BART that CBTC is feasible and will provide significant benefits to BART, including closer headways, better regulation, and improved efficiency in braking profiles to station stops resulting in substantial run time improvements. Significant reductions in capital costs are also anticipated.

 Track circuits have always been a problem at BART and ultimately BART’s objective is that AATC will be the primary train control system, with the intent to eliminate track circuits. In parallel, BART are looking into alternatives to track circuits for broken rail detection.

 Since completion of the Phase I demonstration, a number of changes have been introduced with respect to the management of the project, and the make up of the project team. Specifically, a project management organization has now been established at BART to manage the AATC project and on February 26, 1998 a system design/supply contract was signed with Harmon Industries for Phase 2 work, with a contract option for Phase 3.

 Phase 2 is a revenue demonstration between Lake Merritt and Fruitvale with 10 control revenue vehicles. Phase 2 will also certify system safety. Phase 3 is a full scale implementation between Bay Fair and Daly City (approximately 30% of the BART system) with equipment implemented on the complete fleet of 279 control revenue vehicles and 40 maintenance vehicles. Phase 2 is scheduled to be complete by September 1999, with the Phase 3 option exercised in October 1999. The phase 3 system is scheduled to be operational by October 2001.

 Phase 2 has been underway since September 1997 (under letter of intent with Harmon). Second design submittal has been received and is under review

 Harmon have an exclusive license with Hughes for their EPLRS self-managing spread spectrum data radio network which is the heart of the AATC system. Wayside-based train control intelligence is being used for the AATC system at BART but the communications network is also intended to support other architectures.

 BART recognize that the system is software intensive and the necessary software verification/safety certification is seen is the major project risk.

 A Project Peer Review meeting is being considered later this summer.

 3.2 MUNI

 Patty DeVlieg (MUNI) summarized the status of the MUNI ATCS project.

 The MUNI Metro Turnback (MMT) and MUNI Metro Extension (MMX) Shuttle between Embarcadero and the CalTrain Depot are now in operation, with AUTO mode ATCS between Embarcadero station and the portal (Phase 1). The remainder of the Alcatel SELTRAC ATCS system on the existing subway line is currently under final testing and will enter revenue service on May 30, with conditional acceptance of Phase II service in June. Through service between the existing subway and MMT/MMX will be cut-over this summer (Phase III).

 The final software release will be implemented by end of this year.

 3.3 LIRR

 Victor Grappone (LIRR) advised that LIRR’s grade crossing CBTC pilot project, with a tie in to an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) to provide preemption of traffic signals, is continuing on schedule. GRS are the contractor for this project and a functional demonstration of near side station preemption (not safety certified) is planned for the 3rd week of September this year. Safety verification of the system is expected to be complete approximately 12 months later, with active control of the three grade crossings at New Hyde Park. Between 3 and 6 trainsets will be equipped.

 LIRR are also continuing to participate in Phase I of the NYCT Canarsie Line project.

 LIRR are still planning a CBTC demonstration of basic train separation functions between Babylon to Patchogue which consists of approximately 13 miles of double track and approximately 3 miles of single track operation. Six to ten trains will be equipped with CBTC for this demonstration which will include a continuous demonstration of equipment operation in "shadow" mode with specific train separation demonstrations at night under controlled conditions. An RFP for this project is currently being prepared by LIRR. 

3.4 NYCT

 Geoff Hubbs (NYCT) provided an update on the status of the NYCT Canarsie Line CBTC project.

 The RFP was issued on October 31, 1997 and a Proposal Summary and Technical Proposal was received from the following 6 Proposers on February 6, 1998: 

 Evaluation of the Technical Proposals is currently in progress, and as a consequence, no information on the specific technical approaches being proposed is available (however, all proposals are based on 2.4 GHz spread spectrum radios).

 In parallel with the proposal evaluations, the Authority is conducting formal Software Capability Evaluations at the suppliers’ software development facilities. Suppliers who are unable to demonstrate an appropriate level of software maturity, will not be considered for potential shortlisting for Phase I.

 An Independent Safety Consultant contract was awarded on February 24, 1998 to RSE, P.C.

 Management Proposals were received on March 20, 1998 and Price Proposals (Target Prices) are currently due on April 20, 1998.

 NYCT’s objective is to shortlist to three suppliers and award the three Phase I Demonstration Test Program contracts ($1.1 million) by July with installation of equipment on Culver Line test track and on test vehicles in October. All three suppliers selected for Phase I will demonstrate their CBTC systems in the same test area, and will complete the demonstration tests essentially in parallel. The test area will be approximately 2.0 miles long, and will comprise two tracks between 4th Avenue and Church Avenue on the Authority’s Culver Line. NYCT will provide dedicated test trains for the Demonstration Test Program; two 2-car trains for each supplier. The demonstration tests will commence in January, 1999 and will run for approximately 6 months.

 The primary objective of the demonstration test program is to demonstrate/evaluate the suppliers’ proposed RF data communications system, the suppliers’ proposed train position/speed measurement system, and the suppliers’ proposed approach to implementing automatic train protection functions. Suppliers will also be given an opportunity to demonstrate other capabilities of their proposed system and optionally, suppliers can demonstrate functions that are of interest to the Long Island Railroad, who will also be observing the Culver demonstration tests. LIRR-specific functions include: vital grade crossing control, train position determination by the Global Positioning System (GPS) and vital communication between zone controllers via radio.

 The Lead Contractor will be selected, and Phase II contract for resignaling the Canarsie Line will be awarded, in October 1999. Evaluation criteria, in order of priority, are: 

 Two Phase III contracts, for $3 million each, to demonstrate interoperability with the Leader’s system (and validate the interoperability interface specifications) will be awarded to the two remaining suppliers ("Followers") also in October 1999.

 Phase II and Phase III contracts to be completed in April, 2004 with procurement of CBTC wayside for Flushing Line expected to follow immediately.

 3.5 PATH

 Fred Childs (PATH) advised that there had been no change to PATH’s CBTC plans since the last meeting.

 PATH will be issuing an RFP for consultant services shortly, and expect to have a consultant onboard around mid-to-late 1998 for procurement of around 12 vehicles to test newer technologies on the line, such as ac propulsion. The consultant will also undertake initial operations and cost/benefit analysis of various ATC system technology alternatives.

 3.6 SEPTA

 No update available for this meeting.

 3.7 BCRTC (SkyTrain)

 Rob McHugh (SkyTrain) advised that the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority (GVTA) had adopted BC Transit’s 10-year development plan for expansion of the SkyTrain (ALRT) fleet from 150 to 190 cars by 2006, for development of a light rail transit (LRT) system in the Broadway-Lougheed-Coquitlan corridor by 2005, and for a subsequent extension of the LRT from Lougheed to New Westminster SkyTrain station by 2008.

 BC Transit have awarded a consultant contract for a feasibility study of appropriate technology for new " MkI/Mk II" car procurement for SkyTrain.

 3.8 MBTA

 John Lewis (MBTA) noted that MBTA are considering CBTC for the Blue line in the 2000+timeframe. CBTC could also potentially provide safety enhancements on the Green Line, but the system would also need to be capable of supporting the throughput requirements on the line. The Orange Line is conventional ATO technology.

 3.9 NJT

 John Vogler (NJT) noted that NJT has no current plans for CBTC, relying on traditional cab signaling systems on both the commuter and light rail lines. Commuter rail uses coded 100Hz 4-aspect high-level rail circuits, while light rail will use audio frequency circuits. Both will implement Automatic Train Control with the speed commands received from the continuous inductive pickup of the cab signal codes.

 However, NJT is also implementing a transponder-based intermittent speed control overlay system to provide civil and temporary speed enforcement, as well as automatic and stop signal enforcement. Known on NJT as PTS, this system supplements the existing automatic wayside signals on commuter rail lines that are not cab signaled. Plans are to install it over the entire commuter rail system, and it will be functionally compatible with the ACSES system on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. A contract is in progress, but the design for this system has not been finalized, and car installation has yet to begin.

 3.10 WMATA

 Marty Lukes (WMATA) advised that their last mainline train control contract was about to be awarded, based on conventional audio-frequency coded track circuit/ATO technology. Any change in approach would have required planning in order to integrate a different technology into the WMATA system.

 Currently, new technology consist of the continued use of non-vital processors and the return to allowance of vital processors for interlocking logic.


 Ron Lindsey (CSX) described a number of initiatives on the mainline railroads with respect to Positive Train Control (PTC) and Positive Train Status Separation (PTS). (In simple terms, PTS is an overlay, non-vital system providing enforcement to maintain train separation, to prevent overspeeds, and to provide protection for track work gangs. PTC is PTS plus essentially a replacement of conventional vital hardware train protection systems with vital processor-based/software-based train protection systems).

 The first project described was the joint project by Conrail, CSX and Norfolk Southern to develop an open on-board platform design that can be manufactured by multiple suppliers and that will integrate with train control "objects" developed by multiple vendors. The design specification for the object oriented, on-board platform is currently being finalized by Rockwell and an RFP will be issued shortly for the development of prototype equipment.

 The second project described was CSX's Communications Based Train Management (CBTM) pilot project under development by Rockwell. The first phase of this project is to develop a PTS safety enhancement system for dark territory, with enforcement, for train separation, overspeed protection and work gang protection. For this PTS system, CSX does not want onboard databases, does not want UHF, and does not want complicated braking algorithms. Additionally, CBTM will be monitoring the alignment of selected switches as the train advances to both determine "which track" the train is on as well as to provide enforcement if the switch is misaligned.

 The third project described was the initiatives of the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee (RSAC) with respect to the implementation of PTC, and the development of standards for PTC. The Volpe Center is currently undertaking a risk analysis, and developing a business case for PTC in order to answer the following questions: what is minimum that must be mandated for safety, and what is the maximum that could be mandated based on business case. It is recognized by the RSAC effort, however, that the core functions that PTS/PTC must provide are 1) keep trains from hitting trains, 2) keep trains from overspeeding, and 3) keep trains from entering work areas. As is demonstrated by CBTM, the core functions can be satisfied with a PTS system; PTC is not required. The business case steps beyond the scope of the core functions to suggest that communication networks that are required for business benefits could also carry the requirements for safety as well, hence PTC could be economically implemented over a greater portion of a railroad. This point is not shared by freight railroads, some of which have, or will be, implemented communication systems that support the business benefits but do not support train control.

 The final project described was the Illinois DOT Program. This is a developing joint project between all of the freight railroads, IDOT, and FRA. The purpose of this project is to develop a full-scale PTC system, including vital software, that can be implemented on a freight railroad with high speed traffic. The project will be managed by the TTC in Boulder (formerly the R&D center for the AAR). Currently funding consists of $20 million by the AAR over the next 4 years and $15 million from the FRA through IDOT. It is anticipated that additional funding will be required to carry this project to completion. The technical steering for this effort will be provided by the Railroad Operations Communications Systems Task Force (ROCSTF) of the AAR.


 Alan Rumsey, chair of the IEEE Rail Transit Vehicle Interface Standards Committee, Working Group #2 (WG2), summarized the currently status of the groups activities.

 The purpose of the proposed standard is to establishes a set of performance and functional requirements for CBTC, necessary for enhancing performance, availability, operations and train protection in rail transit systems. The content of proposed standard will cover the operational needs to be addressed by CBTC (e.g. operating modes), the CBTC performance requirements (e.g. headway factors, safety criteria, reliability/availability/maintainability criteria), and the CBTC functional requirements (e.g. Automatic Train Protection (ATP), Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and Automatic Train Supervisions (ATS) requirements).

 There are approximately 50 active participating/contributing members and an equivalent number of other interested parties supporting the efforts of WG2. Each meeting is typically attracting around 30-35 participants. The target Date for completion of current standard is February, 1999. Alan Rumsey thanked the CBTC Peer group for their active support to WG2.

The CBTC interoperability standards effort by WG2 continues to be on hold. It is however anticipated that the CBTC performance and functional requirements standard currently being developed by WG2 will form the foundation for future interoperability standards. The current standard will be used to capture consensus requirements related to interoperability, where they exist and where they are useful.


 6.1 IEEE RTVISC Working Group 9

 Rob McHugh briefed the Peer Group on a new Working Group of the RTVISC, WG9, tasked with developing Rail Vehicle TCIP standards. The group is focusing on rail MIS type applications including maintenance and diagnostics and passenger information, rather than real time control applications. The kick-of meeting for this working group is scheduled for April 27, 1998 and the Peer Group was encouraged to have representatives on this working group.

 6.2 Next Meeting

 It was agreed that the CBTC Peer Group meetings should continue to be scheduled to coincide with IEEE RTVISC Working Group #2 meetings.

 The next meeting of Working Group #2 will be held on July 15, 1998 at MUNI, San Francisco. Hence the next CBTC Peer Group meeting with be held on July 16, 1998, also at MUNI, and will include a ½ day tour of the MUNI system and ATCS system on July 17. This tour will be open to the CBTC Peer Group only.

 In concluding this meeting, Marty Lukes and WMATA were again thanked for their hospitality in hosting the meeting, and for an informative tour of the new WMATA control center facilities.