No compromises when it comes to safety
Safety was one of the primary concerns during the planning phase. Ansaldo Segnalamento Ferroviario supplied an advanced computer-based interlocking system, which guarantees the highest levels required in railway safety (SIL4). This system also allows remote traffic control along the 60 kilometre line. The central control unit is located in Merano. Interestingly, the traffic control processing unit and all safety systems are located in the master unit in Merano, while peripheral units carry out checks and collect data. This configuration makes the system much more cost-effective. The system features a redundant fibre optics network with 144 connections.
Trains are fitted with a continuous signalling system connected to the driver’s cab. This system uses the coded signal principle, also adopted by RFI. The difference is that trains travelling on the Venosta Valley railway receive a steady flow of data indicating the maximum admissible speed, which is calculated continuously by the on board CPU. If the drivers fails to slow down, the default brakes are activated, followed by the emergency brakes, if necessary.
A passenger information system is also included in the control system. Sets of loudspeakers and a variable signalling system inform passengers about arrival times, delays and any platform changes. Also included are platform crossings. More than 50 level crossings have been closed. Underpasses and collector streets are being used instead. Some 31 level crossings are still operational. They have all been fitted with automatic barriers connected to the trains’ on-board safety equipment.