Solving the capacity challenge

Bombardier’s pioneering advances in Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) systems, are supporting system optimisation and upgrades globally, providing a new dimension in overlay capability and tackling the capacity challenge.  

No passenger disruption

One of the major challenges faced by mass transit operators today is that of upgrading systems to increase capacity and reduce headways on existing lines, whilst maintaining existing services to their customers. For most transport authorities, disrupting passenger services to re-signal a line is not a viable option.  
Capacity demands coupled with continued advances in computer technology and the implementation of new standards – whilst desirable for system safety and modernisation – are accelerating obsolescence, which further drives the need  for upgrades.

Reduced lifecycle costs

By creating a continuous bi-directional communications link between the wayside and onboard equipment, CBTC provides many advantages as an advanced signaling solution. With CBTC there is no need for any physical vehicle detection systems such as track circuits or axle counters, which reduces the overall wayside equipment required, and eliminates any additional maintenance costs.  In addition, the unique features of Bombardier´s CBTC solution means  it can be used as an overlay system, which results in no disruption to passenger services during migration and upgrades.

Pioneering developments in advanced signalling solutions

Since the early 1990’s, Bombardier has been at the forefront of advances in European Rail Traffic Management Systems (ERTMS) and CBTC.Bombardier´s CBTC solutions use a moving block (CITYFLO 650) or virtual block (CITYFLO 450) operation which allows trains to run closer to each other compared to a fixed block system, and reduces the headway between vehicles.

Major benefits of CBTC solutions provided by Bombardier include:

  • Providing an integrated system based upon state-of-the-art CBTC with bi-directional radio communications.
  • Improved transport capacity to optimise use of the infrastructure: track and trains.
  • Ensuring maximum system availability thanks to a systematic introduction of redundancy features. 
  • Optimised train operation, improving regularity and achieving energy savings through automatic driving functions (driving strategies).
  • Enhanced system supervision and control from centralised Automatic Train Control (ATC) location, thanks to bidirectional communication capabilities and integrated data network.
  • Providing a transparent migration path from the legacy system to the new system functionality, if required.
  • Reduced lifecycle and maintenance costs - reduced maintenance costs as a result of less wayside equipment required.

Increased capacity and improved safety

Bombardier Transportation’s CITYFLO 650 solution is a computer-based radio controlled, moving block Automatic Train control (ATC) system which does not require physical train detection devices or an onboard operator. Since train-to-wayside communication is provided via two-way radio, the exact position of the trains is known at every moment. Additionally, theCITYFLO 650 solution can be used as an overlay radio-based train control system to upgrade existing fixed block systems.

Bombardier has introduced CBTC within its CITYFLO 450 and CITYFLO 650 signalling solutions for both conventional ‘heavy’ metros as well as for its Automated People Mover (APM) and Advanced Rapid Transit (ART) products.

CBTC Facts

  • Bombardier is a market leader in CBTC technology with our moving block CITYFLO 650 solution already in delivery or in operation on over 30 lines globally.
  • The CITYFLO 650 system was the first ever radio-based CBTC system, installed in February 2003 at San Francisco Airport.
  • The one hundredth train equipped with the Bombardier CITYFLO 650 CBTC system has now entered revenue service on the Metro Madrid system.


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