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Building a Railway Signaling System with a Compliant Computer Platform in the Ho Chi Minh MRT System

28/07/2019

Project Introduction

Location: Ho Chi Minh City MRT  

Following years of rapid economic growth and development, traffic congestion in major cities across Vietnam is becoming an increasingly serious challenge. Ho Chi Minh City, known as “The Paris of the East,” is both the economic center of Vietnam and the most populous city in the country. However, more than 80% of people in Ho Chi Minh City use motorcycles as their means of transportation. Reliance on motor transport, coupled with a booming economy and an influx of foreign tourists, has significantly worsened traffic congestion throughout the city. To  relieve the problem of urban traffic congestion, the government has begun implementing a traffic improvement plan centered on building an MRT system in Ho Chi Minh.Lorem.

In order to balance operational efficiency and road safety, the Ho Chi Minh City MRT uses a moving block system. This system increases the traffic volume with the shortest headway by relying on the help of sophisticated technology products. At the same time, it establishes a safe distance between trains in order to prevent collision accidents. This system has recently gained a higher profile in the railway signaling industry.Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. 

The advantages and disadvantages of computer hardware play a key role in determining whether the moving block system runs smoothly. In this case, Advantech provided an EN 50121-4 railway application high-specification solution that was compliant with rigorous professional standards for the project’s railway signaling system. It not only offered sufficient computing performance to cope with the heavy workload, but also provided a backup configuration to eliminate system interruptions. The modular design met the needs of different fields and accommodated future expansion. With this solution in place, Ho Chi Minh City better served the needs of millions of people through a safe, reliable, and efficient MRT.

System Requirements

The contractor for the Ho Chi Minh City MRT system was a well-known Japanese railway train manufacturing and railway system solutions provider with a business scope that extended to Europe, the United States, and Asia. The company provided related products for mass transit systems such as railway, high-speed rail, MRT, and light rail.

The moving block system required for this project had to rely on the cooperation of various subsystems: the Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) and the Train Detection System (TDS) at the central control center, and the Automatic Train Protection (ATP), Automatic Train Operation (ATO), and Interlocking System on the wayside. The subsystems were connected through the network to realize the goal of single-person train operation. To realize this project, the Japanese contractor needed to purchase the necessary hardware products: servers, network switches, and computer platforms.

The Japanese contractor was responsible for the No. 1 MRT line of the Ho Chi Minh City MRT system—which had a total of six MRT lines. However, they also needed to prepare for other MRT routes and extension lines that would be opened for bidding in the future. Therefore, the relevant hardware required flexible expansion capabilities in order to be able to avoid the trouble of updating all of the equipment in response to the environmental requirements of the newer routes. In addition, once the MRT route went into service, it would be in operation for a long period of time. For that reason, the continuous supply of hardware products and the provision of local after-sales services were key considerations for the contractor.Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry.

System Overview

Advantech helped the Japanese contractor in the construction of railway signaling system with a variety of products, including: providing a server with a multi-core processor for control center’s ATS and TDS; providing two industrial-grade managed switches, EKI-9728 and EKI-7712, for data transmission; and in providing the dedicated track computer platform ITA-2231 for the ATP, ATO, interlocking system, and data storage unit.

Each product was installed in different locations—such as the traffic control center, the wayside of large stations, the wayside interlocking systems, the signaling machines, and point machines—according to system requirements. The operation process of the whole system saw the ITA-2231 located at the bottom layer that was responsible for receiving the wayside signal. The data was transmitted to the top layer control center via the EKI switch. At the same time, the control center administrator was also able to send instructions from the top to bottom so that related facilities, such as the moving trains and railway signaling, could receive the most timely assignment information.

Among the many Advantech products, the ITA-2231 was the most impressive and suitable for the needs of this project. It not only passed the EN 50121-4 international standards test, but through the built-in Intel Core i-class processor and Advantech's special thermal design, the fanless wide temperature computer platform’s anti-electromagnetic interference capability was in line with railway application regulations and offered excellent performance in the harshest of wayside environments. The backup configuration and dual power modules eliminated the need for users to worry about system interruption. In this case, the interlocking systems responsible for controlling the connection and pins of the trains, the signaling machines, and the point machines, were two ITA-2231 units that ensured operational safety and efficiency.

In addition to a variety of I/O interface types, the ITA-2231 also offered three ITA-EM slots that allowed users to expand the network, optical fiber, serial, and CAN connections based on different field requirements. In instances where the distance between devices was far away, the ITA-EM network module with fiber connector could be selected. The modular design was also conducive to the planning and maintenance of the future expansion of the system. System developers would be able to add modules to the ITA-2231 to meet new requirements, thus eliminating the need for complex processes, such as reselecting specifications when purchasing new computers and performing compatibility tests. Under the familiar hardware architecture, the development and construction of the project was sped up and it became easier and more convenient for engineers to perform future maintenance operations.

Moreover, Advantech’s Vietnam branch office provided immediate local services across long product life cycles and effectively delivered supply-related materials. For the Ho Chi Minh City MRT system, with an expected service life of at least 25 years, Advantech guaranteed safe and stable system operation. Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. 

Project Implementation

ITA-2231:  The 2U fanless computer platform with the EN 50121-4 standard for railway applications

SKY-4311P: 1U rackmount dual Intel® Xeon® E5-2600 v3/v4 storage server 

EKI-9728G: Industrial Rackmount L3 Managed Switch with AC/DC

System Diagram


Conclusion

Computer hardware products suitable for railway applications have their own special conditions and thresholds. They must comply with the rigorous international specifications and have I/O interfaces that can be adjusted in accordance to the different needs of the station or wayside. The railway-specific ITA-2231 is often the best choice for meeting these requirements.

In this case, Advantech's overall product quality and professional services were highly trusted by the project's Japanese contractor. In addition to the railway signaling system of the Ho Chi Minh City MRT system, the automatic fare collection system (AFC) in the station, the network video recorders (NVR) on the train, and the CCTV video surveillance system, were implemented using Advantech products. In the future, the vendor will continue its fruitful professional relationship with Advantech and rely on our products in helping build out new MRT routes and extension lines.