In our country, the first studies in the field of signalization started with the idea of domestic interlocking in 2006, and the idea was projected by Turkish State Railways (TCDD), TUBITAK BILGEM and ITU partnership in 2009. The driving force behind the initiation of work in this field was that all of the large investments that started in railways at that time were financed by foreign sources. With the transfer of experience and knowledge by the team working in the project to other companies, private companies started to take part in domestic interlocking projects in order to benefit from the potential in this field. Working in this field, TUBITAK has completed the certification of the domestic interlocking system in 2021.
Domestic Metro and Mainline Signalization System
While the domestic interlocking project started by TUBITAK has been carried out within the scope of TUBITAK and private companies, ERTMS level 1/2 on-board Train Protection System development activities started to be carried out by ASELSAN with the R&D project in 2015. World’s most developed ERTMS/ETCS (European Railway Traffic Management/European Train Control System) main line and CBTC (Communication Based Train Control) metro signalization systems comprise of line-length and on-board systems for a full safety. Considering that domestic interlocking studies have started within the scope of the line length signalization systems in our country, the on-board signalization system is a critical component that will contribute a new dimension to the studies in this field.
Within the scope of the M1 Yenikapi-Bus Terminal-Airport-Kirazli-Halkali Metro project in Istanbul, the National CBTC Metro Signalization System Development Project was initiated in 2019 with the contract signed with Metro Istanbul. Under the leadership of Metro Istanbul, the team established with ASELSAN and TUBITAK have started studies to carry out the design of the on-board, line-long and central train control systems domestically.
Besides these works, ASELSAN has become the prime contractor of the Metro Signalization Project of the Gayrettepe-Istanbul New Airport (GYH) Project carried out by the Ministry of Transport General Directorate of Infrastructure Investments. The GYH project calendar has accelerated the work of the developed domestic CBTC metro signalization system. At the current stage, the domestically designed metro signalization system will be tested and commissioned in 2021.
While the GYH Metro Signalization Project, the first project, continue, Halkali-Istanbul New Airport (HYH) and Gebze-Darica Metro Signalization Projects were signed by ASELSAN and the CBTC metro signalization system started to spread to the whole country, which created a snowball effect.
The technical knowledge gained from end to end in the metro signalization system has the quality to be also used in the main line signalization system. In this context, productization activities for the ERTMS on-board train protection system developed by ASELSAN and business development activities related to main line ERTMS line projects continue at full speed.
Advanced Technology Signalization System
Metro signalization systems are the high-technology signalization systems that are capable of ensuring the high-capacity operational requirements. Considering the superiority of CBTC metro signalization systems over ERTMS main line signalization systems, the first feature of the CBTC system is the high transport capacity created with operation frequency that could be reduced up to 30 seconds. The domestically produced metro signalization system has been designed to meet the operation frequency easily in Istanbul. In this way, the high demand in urban life at certain times will be met. The level of automation that prevents the enterprises’ human-caused errors and performs punctual and energy-efficient operations are among the most significant superior features of the metro systems. The national metro signalization system designed and developed by ASELSAN is at the level of world’s most advanced automation level driverless GoA4 (Grade of Automation 4 Unattended Train Operation).
Another advantage of the metro signalization system is continuous communication with a small number of line equipment and trains in order to provide low maintenance costs. In addition to these basic advantages, the system has additional capabilities and advantages such as advanced train control and management systems, maintenance interfaces, virtual coupling and precise posture. Our domestic metro system includes all these functions.
ERTMS systems have become a world standard on main lines. The biggest advantage of ERTMS systems is interoperability. ERTMS signalization systems, with this capability, have become an indispensable system of the main lines, as they make it possible to operate between cities and countries. International R&D studies are continuing in many subjects in order to bring the additional capabilities in metro systems to the standard and to increase the efficiency on the main line. It is obvious that in the near future, the ERTMS signalization system will add advantages similar to the metro system.
New Generation National Signalization System
The hardware, software and system component knowledge (know-how) used in the national metro signaling system has been gained together with the domestic ecosystem. The largest safety expert and development team in our country has been established. Compared with the contemporaries in the world, the national signalization system has features that make a difference since the system is designed with the latest technology, has the best features of all other systems and is designed to meet the business needs of our country. The designed train control ATS (Automatic Train Supervision) software includes the most frequently used functions after the system is commissioned. The ATS system features stand out with user experience and interface design. Many sub-units that make up the other components of the metro system have also been included in the scope of localization.
While the design of the national metro signalization system continues, advanced R&D activities have been initiated to ensure the system to continue to be the best system in the world. In this context, studies have started for:
- Acoustic sensor technology MIDAS-R system used on the fiber optic line to provide additional security and preventive maintenance activities of the line
- The use of radar and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) based sensor technologies to provide more precise and cost-effective positioning
- 5 / 5G based wireless communication for high capacity and efficient communication
- IoT and Cloud-based data collection infrastructures to increase energy efficiency and preventive maintenance activities
- AI (Artificial Intelligence) based ATO (Automatic Train Operation) to ensure efficient and compatible automatic drive
Recently, thanks to the support and projects initiated, new generation signalization systems have been developed in the field of signalization technology, and a great success has been achieved in our country. In the short term, the technological war in our country seems to have been won for the metro signalization system. Our independence in the field of signalization technology will be reinforced with the continuation of this success and its spread to the mainline signalization systems. This will open the way for us to become among the developed countries that produce technology.