The Vectron train protection concept – borderless flexibility

All locomotives available on the market today use corridor-specific solutions. This means that a vehicle is equipped only with the train protection systems that correspond to the countries served as well as the necessary sensors and cabling. Subsequent conversion to another corridor with different train protection systems involves considerable effort and expense – owing to inaccessible cables passed behind switchgear cabinets, the absence of mounting slots in the machine room, and lack of recesses for control components on the driver’s desk. But Vectron is different. As a modular locomotive, this vehicle concept allows for future retrofits to different train protection systems.

Modular configuration

A modular configuration for national train protection systems and ETCS is homologated in a prototype Vectron locomotive. New configurations or locomotive variants can then be implemented simply as "slimmed down" subsystems of this maximum system, allowing unprecedented flexibility and modularity. This modularity is implemented in all significant areas, such as in the train protection cabinets, the antenna and sensor attachments in the underfloor area, construction of the driver’s desk, the roof antennas, and the brake activation units.

Flexible train protection cabinets

Modular cabinets make it possible to convert quickly and easily to national train protection systems. Vectron has two spaces – one 60 cm wide and the other 120 cm wide – for installation of train protection cabinets. The latter space can be equipped either with two cabinets each 60 cm wide or with one cabinet that is 120 cm wide.

Example of a full equipment complement in a 60 cm and a 120 cm cabinet: All train protection systems have their own fixed mounting slot. There are no "wandering" systems. Connector and pin assignments are permanently defined and cannot be changed. The multiple use of components for various train protection systems means that fewer components are needed. For example, pulse generators with up to five separate tracks and dual-mode roof antennas are used and brake activation units are deployed in multiple applications. Likewise, eurobalises are also shared for several national systems through the KER interface. Modular cable harnesses also allow fast conversion or retrofitting in the future.

Modular driver’s desk

The concept of a modular predefined construction is continued in the driver’s desk. The control and display elements of the train protection systems are integrated to the extent possible in the display architecture. There is a single speed indicator in the display. A low driver’s desk is possible where less installation space is required for fitting equipment. This can later be converted from a low to a high driver’s desk and vice versa. Thus, conversions do not result in unsightly solutions consisting of add-on attachments.

Highly modular train radio

When it comes to train radio communications, Europe is also still far away from a standardized solution. Various country-specific features must be taken into account. In the same way as for train protection, a modular maximum configuration is homologated for train radio. New configurations are then modular subsystems of this maximum configuration. Here, too, modularity includes:

  • Fixed mounting slots for all system components

  • Permanent connector and pin assignments

  • Modular design of the driver’s desk, roof antennas, and the software

  • Transnational utilization of identical train radio components

  • If required: country-specific adaptation of the basic unit through add-on modules

Modularized bogie

Mounting slots for all necessary antennas and sensors are provided in the underfloor area of the locomotive. This configuration was on view in the multisystem variant of Vectron presented at the InnoTrans 2010.