Rail yards, a challenge through growth and changed landscape

Author: Folkert Bouma
Day: Aspect Day Two
Session: Maintenance

This paper addresses some of the challenges that are foreseen in
the future when train services are increased in relation to
servicing on stabling yards.Due to economic growth and
increasing mobility demand, more and more people are using
public transport services in the Netherlands. Dutch Railways is
facing growing demands on top of the need to replace older trains
by many more modern trains allowing more seating capacity. At
major parts of the network the frequencies of trains will increase.
And all these trains have to be serviced. Modern single deck trains
offer more seats (compared to regular single deck trains) at
shorter coach lengths which often comes with changed demands
for service (i.e. more technical equipment on the roof of a train
set).Usually stabling yards are often used for service (parking
overnight and off peak hours), cleaning, small repairs, refuelling
for non-electric trains, filling water and emptying the toilets and
more. Trains can be combined at stabling yards to trainsets when
there is a need for more seating capacity. Obviously a stabling
yard is connected to main hub stations by means of a fast
connection, minimizing the time needed to put the trains into
service.In the past stabling yards were oft not centrally controlled
by a dispatcher and train drivers had to disembark trains for local
control of points and to embark the train to continue the train
movement. This limited the number of trains that could be
serviced on stabling yards.To overcome this disadvantage control
systems are required for stabling yards. As a result of the
introduction of control systems also an efficient operation is
needed. Introducing an efficient standardized operation was a
path that required resilience.For stabling yards a set of
requirements dedicated for yards was developed. This set of
requirements comes with a list of options. Depending on the
chosen flavour, either the yard is locally controlled or the control
of the yard is automated with manual fall back option for the
points(bound to procedures) or the yard is fully automated
without the need for manual fall back. In practice the full
automation option offers the highest capacity. Due to new
technologies the cost of systems that implements this option has
been reduced. Due to automation specific service installations and
operations became part of the daily common operation, where in
the past local operation rules were applied. Obviously the
changed service demands need to be taken into account as well.
Standardization of these installations and operations have proved
to be efficient.The developed set of requirement fully adopts to
stakeholder wishes. In the event a fully automated system is
chosen it is comprised of open systems for interlocking and
control allowing the system integrator (Infrastructure Manager) to
be vendor independent and reduce costs as well. The paper
highlights the history, the choice of systems as well as using new
technologies in a way to reduce costs.