Oct 26, 2010

The Carolinas and ATC

I have been pretty busy lately. Work has me traveling quite a bit for the new WMATA Project. Thursday and Friday of last week were spent in Charlotte, NC and Columbia, SC visiting suppliers for the coupler and Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems. I must say, I love visiting innovative companies; I often find myself in awe of the technologies used in these plants. I got to watch as printed circuit boards were made in electrostatic discharge (ESD) sensitive environments. The workers, tables, chairs et cetera, were grounded as microchips, resistors and other tiny components were placed on the boards for soldering. I witnessed, the fully automated assembly of circuit boards where soldering paste was screen printed onto the boards, chips were placed quickly and accurately by machine and then wave soldered as the boards traveled down the line. The circuitry this company provides will be used to facilitate cab signaling information (track status displayed inside the cab for the operator to see vs traditional track-side signaling). The benefit of ATC technology is that it automatically assigns maximum speeds for trains based on the track status. If an operator exceeds the maximum speed calculated by the ATC, an alarm will sound in the cab. If the operator does not react to the alarm (perhaps the operator is texting) the ATC will automatically reduce the train speed.

3 comments:

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

That's interesting stuff Mike. Thanks for sharing.

danaceau said...

That will help with SOME of the problems down here ...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/10/28/AR2010102807214.html

Michael O'Hara said...

Dan:
There are lots of unsafe practices that take place in all transit systems. I know of a lot here with NYCT. But, efforts are made to mitigate risks. Working around 600volts, in dark, noisy tunnels is a down-right dangerous job!