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l Earthing System TracFeed OLSP

Living in times of increasing mobility, public transport more than ever competes with private vehicle traffic. Modern trains and fast rail connections are increasingly attracting passengers, making an important contribution to a future with less pollution and mobility obstacles. High-speed rail links have been built in various countries, starting to weave a grid of comfortable high-speed connections throughout Europe. Interoperability and safety are major goals within the European Union to meet the future needs of an integrated economy. Individual technical solutions and local regulations are holding up this integration and are successively being replaced by common standards. High-speed rail links usually involve viaducts and tunnels to a significant extent to cross mountainous regions. Hence, tunnel safety is a major issue which additionally came under scrutiny after the recent series of disastrous fire accidents in road tunnels. Top priority must therefore be assigned to modern and effective tunnel safety concepts. Deutsche Bahn AG has been forging new paths by installing innovative safety systems like the TracFeed OLSP on its high-speed rail links.

The Task
In the event of a tunnel accident, passengers and rescue services are exposed not only to hazards from debris, fire and smoke but also from live overhead lines. Especially in case of a tunnel fire a fast evacuation by means of self-rescue efforts or external intervention is crucial. The railway service operator must ensure that all parts of the overhead traction voltage system are disconnected from the mains and earthed before rescue services can enter the tunnel. While disconnecting the affected section is typically done by a remote Energy Control Centre, earthing has to be performed manually on-site. Local rescue service personnel commonly are not authorised to perform manual earthing of the overhead line or do not have sufficient practice in this procedure, causing delays in rescue efforts. This especially applies to exceptional situations (train accident) with the complication of an unknown overhead line status. Missing manual earthing gear or the necessity to summon specially trained railway emergency managers may also take precious time. It was therefore the task to develop an automation and telecontrol system that - checks the voltage-free status of the overhead line, - automatically performs an earthing sequence, - verifies the successful earthing at both tunnel portals, - indicates the safe status to the rescue services. Normally, the earthing sequence is initiated by remote command from the railway operators Energy Control Centre immediately after the overhead line has been disconnected from the mains. It is however further requested that this procedure can also be triggered locally at all tunnel access points by a very simple action like operating a push-button and that the result is clearly indicated.


The Emergency Tunnel Earthing System (ETES) shall be equipped with self-supervision functions, redundancies in communication lines, fail-safe-strategies and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to ensure a high degree of operational availability and to by all means prevent false indications that would lead to dangerous situations for rescue services.

A directive by the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) called Requirements for fire prevention and disaster control in construction and operation of railway tunnels stipulates under certain conditions the installation of an ETES with the listed features in German railway tunnels in excess of 500 m length.

The Solution
TracFeed OLSP has been developed to meet the functional and safety requirements of all relevant directives and standards. It fulfills the demand for a safe, reliable and easy-to-operate solution perfectly. TracFeed OLSP is certified by the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA) for installation in railway tunnels. All tunnels of the Nuremberg Ingolstadt high-speed link have recently been equipped with TracFeed OLSP systems. Further, systems using the same control core have proven their reliability on the Cologne Rhine/Main route since the end of 2001. Currently, German Railway (DB AG) is installing Emergency Tunnel Earthing Systems in existing tunnels within the scope of a tunnel refurbishment program.

The Product
TracFeed OLSP as an integrated, functional product consists of two parts: the automation and telecontrol system and the overhead line components. Further, a number of services are necessary to erect an ETES and to put it into operation. This includes preparation of the system design including approvable documentation, project-specific engineering, supply, installation, commissioning and support of the approval process. If required, also calculations to prove compliance with EMI-directives must be provided.

Field picture from an interference calculation

Balfour Beatty Rail is able to offer all components and the whole range of services necessary to build up an ETES. The customer significantly benefits from this one interface-philosophy not only through a lean project organisation but also by avoiding interfaces to third-party components and by a higher standardisation of applied products (like disconnectors or electrical drives) along the route. By means of minor modifications TracFeed OLSP is also applicable in traction power supply systems other than 15 kV/16.7 Hz (as used in Germany). For example, Balfour Beatty Rail is currently erecting a TracFeed OLSP system for a tunnel at the border to Belgium which is supplied by the DC 3 kV power system.


The System Overview

The automation and telecontrol part of TracFeed OLSP consists of - one master unit - one slave unit with disconnector control per tunnel portal - one slave unit with control and indication panel per emergency exit The following overhead line components are part of TracFeed OLSP - earthing disconnector (TracFeed ES), - electric motor drive (TracFeed SFA), - voltage transformer - end of safe area-sign

System overview TracFeed OLSP

The master unit is the heart of the system and controls the data communication to the slave units and to the operators Energy Control Centre. For local monitoring and control the master unit is equipped with a SCADAsystem running on a PC with touch-screen monitor. All slave units are redundantly connected to the master unit by means of two modem links based on copper or fibre optic cables. The slave units at the tunnel portals operate the earthing disconnectors upon a corresponding command. The slave unit cabinet is split into two compartments, one locked and the other freely accessible. The locked one contains the control equipment, the freely accessible one houses the control and indication panel.

The slave units at the emergency exits are compact remote terminal units with an integrated (optionally: separated) control and indication panel. All units are equipped with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to bridge power outages of up to 3 hours.


The Operation
TracFeed OLSP control and indication panels are installed at all tunnel access routes, i.e. at the portals and at all emergency exits. Each panel features three indicator lamps (green, yellow and red) and a push-button. The indicator lamps show the status of the overhead line and the push-button allows to trigger the emergency earthing sequence on-site. In case of an emergency, the operators Energy Control Centre disconnects the overhead line and subsequently starts the earthing sequence of TracFeed OLSP by remote control. If this procedure has been finished successfully, all panels show a green light to indicate that accessing the tunnel is safe. Further, the earthed area is now visually limited by collapsible signs becoming visible at the poles the earthing diconnectors are mounted on. As a result, a safe and clearly indicated overhead line condition has been reached within a very short period of time, fulfilling the requirement that this status already exists when rescue services arrive at the scene.
If the overhead line has been disconnected but not yet earthed (e.g. due to an interrupted communication between the ETES master unit and the Energy Control Centre), the panels show red light; the earthing sequence can now be initiated locally by pressing the push-button at any of the control and indication panels. Successful termination again is indicated by a green light at all panels. Whenever the overhead line is energised, pressing the push-button has no effect at all. Misuse of the ETES by trespassers during normal train operation is therefore not possible. In the unlikely event of an interrupted communication between the TracFeed OLSP master unit and at least one of the slave units the yellow lamp is blinking after pressing the push-button. If this occurs at a slave unit with disconnector control, the earthing at this single location has been successful. To ensure that the overall situation is safe, all slave units with disconnector control usually those at the tunnel portals must show this yellow blinking indication which needs to be verified by personnel e.g. by means of radio communication.

TracFeed OLSP Control and Indication Panel


The Conclusion
TracFeed OLSP improves tunnel safety significantly by providing reliable and easy-to-operate emergency earthing of the overhead line. Rescue services immediately get a clear indication of the overhead line status and, if necessary, are able to perform an on-site emergency earthing by just pushing a button. TracFeed OLSP has been developed under the strict rules applicable to safety-relevant devices and is certified by the German Federal Railway Authority (EBA). This Emergency Tunnel Earthing System concept has been installed about 40 times comprising more than 150 units. The most recent references for TracFeed OLSP include the high-speed rail link Nuremberg Ingolstadt of German Railway (DB AG) and several single tunnels the ETES has been added to within the tunnel refurbishment program.
With TracFeed OLSP Balfour Beatty Rail is able to offer an integrated Emergency Tunnel Earthing System including all components and services from one source.


Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH

Garmischer Str. 35 81373 Munich Germany Tel. +49 (0) 89 4 19 99-0 Fax +49(0) 89 4 19 99-270

Copyright 2007. Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of Balfour Beatty Rail GmbH. The information in this document contains general descriptions of the technical possibilites, which may not be available in every case. The required performance characteristics should therefore be specified individually when a contract is concluded. TracFeed is a registered trademark of BICC Holdings GmbH. Balfour Beay is a registered trademark of Balfour Beatty plc.

09/07 Printed in Germany BBRPS/049-e