TTC test of new signalling system ‘exceeded expectations’

via The Toronto Star

Chief operating officer Mike Palmer says TTC ‘extremely happy’ with how automatic train control system performed. System will eventually increase capacity up to 25 per cent.

The TTC says it has successfully tested a new signalling system that will eventually allow it to increase capacity on its busiest subway line by up to 25 per cent.

The transit agency concluded a 13-day test run of the system, known as automatic train control (ATC), on Saturday morning. During that time trains in regular service on the section of Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina) between Dupont and Yorkdale stations operated under ATC.

TTC Chief Operating Officer Mike Palmer said the agency is “extremely happy” with how the new system performed.

“It exceeded our expectations, and it bodes well for the future,” he said.

There were some glitches, however. The TTC originally planned to start the in-service testing in mid-September, but unexpected reliability problems pushed back the date.

Once the system went live, 37 malfunctions over the test period caused delays averaging 14.2 minutes per day. But Palmer said the TTC addressed most of the issues and by the final day there were only five minutes worth of delays.

He said the transit agency is on track to have ATC installed on all of Line 1 by 2019, at a cost of $562.3 million.

Parts of the TTC’s signalling infrastructure date back to 1954, when Line 1 first opened. The original signalling is known as a “fixed block” system. In order to keep trains a safe distance apart, the tracks are divided into different sections, or blocks. Only one train at a time can travel through a block, and the blocks both in front and behind it must also be kept clear.