Galileo applications for rail transportation to be tested at Siemens

In the future, trains are to be equipped with systems that work with positioning information that is provided by satellite. This will be made possible by “Galileo”, the Eu

Date: Issue 19 - December 2009

Satellite navigation has not yet gained a foothold in the field of automatic train control (ATC), which involves a considerable level of technical complexity and necessitates a high degree of reliability due to the exceptionally high safety requirements. The main reasons for this are the unreliable positioning function of current GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and the lack of integrity information and an operating guarantee. Galileo, the future satellite navigation system of the European Union, is intended to provide a remedy to this situation. The “railGATE” project was started in order to give potential users in the field of rail transportation the opportunity to test innovative applications before the real Galileo signal is available. The aim is to explore potential applications for the future Galileo satellite system in rail-bound transportation and to make it even more reliable in future. A test environment is being created on the 35-hectare site of the world’s most modern test and validation center for rolling stock in Wegberg-Wildenrath,
which is owned and operated by Siemens. Eight signal generators – called pseudolites – will be mounted on top of 50-meter-high transmission masts and soon transmitting Galileo signals within a locally restricted area. Trains fitted with receiving devices will be able to receive signals from the nearby pseudolites. This means that positioning system applications for rail transportation, such as for automatic marshaling or for train tracking, can be tested without danger on 28 kilometers of track. In contrast to public railway lines, the tracks in Wegberg-Wildenrath can be used to carry out these tests without having to take into account or interfere with public railway operations. Other advantages of the test and validation center are its location in a wooded area and the existing infrastructure. Therefore, the Galileo system can be tested in different receiving situations, such as on a free section of track, in a forest or in the depot.