The Eskisehir-Kutahya-Balikesir (EKB) regional railway line is being upgraded with advanced signalling and telecommunications systems. Credit: Alstom.
The modernisation will enable TKDD to manage the Eskisehir-Balikesir rail transport corridor more efficiently. Credit: Btian Paul Dorsam.
The interlocking project for the EKB line modernisation was completed in February 2021. Credit: Alstom.

Eskisehir-Kutahya-Balikesir (EKB), a 328km-long regional railway line in Turkey, is being modernised with new signalling and telecommunications systems. Owned by the Turkish State Railways (Turkiye Cumhuriyeti Devlet Demiryollari or TCDD), the single-track EKB railway line runs approximately 260km east of Ankara.

The modernisation project will increase the line’s capacity and enable the efficient management of the Eskisehir-Balikesir rail transport corridor.

The Turkish railway line is scheduled to be operational by December 2021, upon the completion of signalling works. TCDD aims to upgrade 70% of its single-track rail lines in Turkey into double-track lines by 2023.

Details of Eskisehir-Kutahya-Balikesir line modernisation

The EKB rail line modernisation involves the installation of trackside and on-board equipment, including Atlas on-board signalling system, Smartlock interlocking solution, and Iconis, an integrated traffic control centre.

The project will also witness the addition of level crossing systems, power distribution and uninterrupted power supply systems, as well as the construction of technical equipment buildings.

TCDD’s 26 locomotives will be installed with the on-board European railway traffic management system (ERTMS)/European train control system (ETCS) equipment and automatic train stop (ATS) device. The new signalling system will improve the line’s capacity and help increase the average operational speed of the trains to 160km/h.

The interlocking system for the eight sections of the 328km-long mainline railway entered service in February 2021. The introduction of an automatic train supervision solution and ERTMS-based signalling system will improve the safety of the EKB rail line.

The line will be equipped with Huawei’s global system for mobile–railway (GSM-R) and synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH) communication to support seamless voice communication between dispatchers and trains drivers. Furthermore, the communication systems upgrade will facilitate seamless signalling data connectivity.

Atlas signalling system details

French rolling stock manufacturing company Alstom’s Atlas signalling system is based on levels one and two of ETCS/ ERTMS and complies with the new ETCS baseline 3 standards. It offers a scalable and configurable range to be equipped in both the new trains and the existing fleet. The system provides interoperability across diverse trains and tracks and meets a broad range of operational requirements of railway operators.

Atlas enables reliable service, enhances the line capacity with high density and higher speed, and provides flexibility and optimal efficiency. It is currently installed on 4,000 trains in commercial service worldwide.

Smartlock interlocking solution

Alstom’s Smartlock is an intelligent interlocking solution for train protection with low maintenance costs. The network-based architecture of Smartlock offers simplified interfaces and seamless integration with advanced railway signalling systems such as mainline ERTMS and urban communications-based train control (CBTC) systems.

Direct interfacing with components at the trackside such as signalling systems ensures minimum ground infrastructure and cables. Modular architecture makes it more adaptable for different railway operators and future modifications in network traffic.

Iconis traffic control centre

Alstom’s Iconis is a customisable, modular, scalable, and configurable traffic control system. The urban version of Iconis provides advanced network control for metro, tram, and suburban railway operations.

Iconis urban can manage driverless systems through automated traffic and depot management, while the mainline solution improves efficiency on dense networks with seamless monitoring and control.

Contractors involved

TCDD awarded an approximately €89m ($120.8m) contract to Alstom to provide signalling and telecommunications systems for the EKB rail line in November 2011. The first of 26 locomotives installed with ETCS levels one and two was delivered to TCDD in September 2021, as part of the contract with Alstom.

The company was also contracted to provide the interlocking system for the line.

Huawei is providing an ETCS level two-compliant railway operational communication solution to the EKB line and other railway lines of TCDD.

Fmk Ray provided consultancy, surveying, and design services and conducted discovery-quantity studies for the construction of electrification infrastructure along the EKB rail line.