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MTR trials light rail speed monitoring device

Development of the MTR speed and position monitoring system has been underway for two years on the Tin Shui Wai areas of the network. Kawasaki Phase II LRV 1081 and trailer 1208 beneath the viaducts carrying MTR West Rail Line at the Tin Shui Wai interchange in March 2015. Image courtesy of N. Pulling

A new system that enables real-time speed and position monitoring of Hong Kong’s MTR Light Rail vehicles will be operational by the middle of 2019, MTR announced in November. The technology, developed in-house, is being introduced in a bid to improve safety and efficiency on the 36.2km (22.5-mile) network.

The result of two years’ work by MTR engineers, the Integrated Speed and Position Supervision System (iSPS) is being trialled on three routes in Tin Shui Wai – 705 and 706 (the Circular line) and 751P (Tin Yat – Yau Oi), said MTR’s Head of Operations Cheung Chi-keung.

Combining onboard GPS and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, the system uses trackside RFID readers to relay an LRV’s position and speed to the Tsing Yi Operations and Control Centre via a mobile communications network.

When track speed limits are approached, the driver receives an audible warning, and another if the limit is exceeded. Other features include reminders to perform platform duties when at stops and pulling away, and alerts when passing through designated junctions and turnouts.

Once the trial is complete, an evaluation will determine next steps with an expected roll-out across the 140-strong LRV fleet in 2019.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Mr Cheung said that MTR has obtained a patent for the system and would be open to discussions with other operators over the technology.

Carrying around half a million passengers each day, the MTR Light Rail network covers 11 routes and 68 stops, and its feeder bus lines are the main internal transport for the New Territories, including Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.