WESTCAD, Siemens Rail Automation's control centre solution, is in successful operation across a range of projects throughout the UK.
A highly effective computer-based control and display system, WESTCAD is easily configured, has a familiar user interface and is capable of working in a wide variety of railway applications.
Building on the company's success both in the UK and overseas, an evolution of the system has recently been launched following the development of a new hardware platform. This 'new generation' WESTCAD delivers the same high levels of performance, safety and functionality, but at a fraction of the size of the current system - reducing the size of a standard WESTCAD unit from a full cubicle to that of a normal microwave oven.
With this dramatic reduction in size come some obvious benefits. The unit is more portable and features much simplified cabling and drawings; consequently design, installation and testing are all easier and significantly faster.
With a range of diagnostic tools and hot-swap standby features, the system is also incredibly reliable and easy to maintain. All of which adds great value to customers and keeps WESTCAD at the cutting edge of technology, delivering a high-quality solution that may be configured to meet each customer's individual needs.
WESTCAD is part of a suite of products that share the same hardware package, with the WESTRONIC 1024 data transmission unit and WESTCAD automatic route setting (ARS) module offering similar benefits to rail operators.
WESTRONIC not only provides an emergency alarm function, but also the ability to monitor power equipment and signalling equipment rooms, transmitting all the alarm information back to one central point.
The span of control includes such things as power loss, over-temperature alert and air-conditioning failure. An additional analogue input card enables remote conditioning monitoring of temperatures and voltages of other equipment.
The move away from industrial PCs to a more reliable Euro card CPCI hardware allows any of the cards or the power supply to be hot-swapped and for everything to be fully duplicated. Consequently, the system can 'lose' a card and automatically switches to another while the faulty one is repaired and replaced.
Using a suitable communications link, WESTCAD can drive most types of interlocking, including solid-state interlocking (SSI), WESTLOCK, Ebilock, WESTRACE and relay interlockings.
WESTCAD's compact size means the unit can be situated on a desk in the control centre, or it can be 200m away in a separate location. In the event of unexpected damage to a control centre, WESTCAD functions can be taken over at another location anywhere in the UK.
The scope of WESTCAD allows it to be used as part of re-control projects where existing interlockings are being retained - the rear panels of the product being changed to suit the site instead of an extensive programme of rewiring. Changeover times are therefore significantly reduced and route closures minimised.