Wednesday, April 15, 2015

All Aboard Florida selects GE for signaling, PTC

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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All Aboard Florida (AAF) has selected GE Transportation Gobal Signaling Solutions to design and manufacture signaling, grade crossing and related Positive Train Control (PTC) equipment for its 235-mile higher-speed passenger rail corridor, which will connect Miami with Orlando International Airport.

AAF, a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida East Coast Industries, is scheduled to begin service from Miami to West Palm Beach in late 2016 over existing, upgraded Florida East Coast Railway (FECR) trackage, with a stop in downtown Fort Lauderdale. A new 40-mile right-of-way along the State Road 528 corridor between Cocoa and Orlando International Airport will be built to complete the system; service between Miami and Orlando International Airport is scheduled to begin in 2017. AAF is investing $1.5 billion to improve the existing right-of-way and construct the new line.

GE Transportation will provide a signaling system that incorporates elements of PTC similar to its ITCS (Incremental Train Control System) deployed on a portion of Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit HrSR (higher-speed rail) line in Michigan. Grade crossing improvements will involve train-to-wayside communications for triggering gate openings and closings, and regulation of train-to-crossing times. As a result, AAF trains will clear grade crossings in less than 60 seconds, “less time than vehicles stop for a traffic light,” GE said. These enhancements will be fully integrated into a corridor-wide PTC system that will be an overlay on the existing, GE-supplied cab signaling and dispatch system used by FECR freight trains. The technology is known as E-ATC (Enhanced-Automatic Train Control).

Teams at GE Transportation’s Melbourne and Jacksonville, Fla., facilities will take the lead on signal design and engineering. A second GE plant in Warrensburg, Mo., will manufacture the equipment. FECR worked closely with AAF in selecting GE.

“This project introduces advanced communications and engineering improvements in an existing rail corridor that wouldn’t be possible without the investment from this project,” said All Aboard Florida President Mike Reininger. “It’s significant that we’re awarding our first major infrastructure contract for the project to GE. It should attest to how highly we prioritize safety in the corridor.”

“GE’s commitment is to deliver safe, efficient solutions to optimize All Aboard Florida’s operations,” said John Reinker, president of Intelligent Transportation Solutions at GE Transportation. “This is an important project that we believe may influence other transportation projects across the U.S.”

PHOTO: Melbourne Mayor Kathy Meehan joined GE Transportation and All Aboard Florida officials touring GE’s local plant where the signal equipment for AAF passenger rail service will be designed and engineered. Pictured from left to right are: Keith Szewczyk, Engineering General Manager, Seth Bodnar, General Manager, and David L. McKay, General Manager North America, Intelligent Control Systems, GE Transportation Global Signaling Solutions; Adrian Share, Executive Vice President of Rail Infrastructure, All Aboard Florida; and Kathy Meehan, Mayor of Melbourne.

Editor's note: The photo previously published with this story was not supplied by All Aboard Florida and was not an accurate representation of AAF's proposed trains or signal/grade crossing technology.

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