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Madrid signals earmarked for Tube

SIX OF London's Underground lines are to get the same capacity boosting 'distance to go' signalling system as the Madrid Metro, upgrade consortium Metronet said last week.

The new system is expected to boost capacity by up to 20% on the Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City, Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines.

Metronet, which comprises Balfour Beatty, Thames Water, Seeboard, Atkins and Bombardier, is expected to take the lines over later this year.

Metronet operations director Ben Harding said the consortium had decided to install the distance to go system because the technology had been proved in Madrid, and can be installed with minimum disruption to the existing system.

Currently LUL runs on a 'fixed block' signalling system, which automatically keeps trains running at a prescribed distance - or 'block' - from each other.

A set safe braking distance or 'overlap' extends the block at its rear. The overlap can be more than is needed, especially when trains are running slowly.

This can then reduce the number of train paths.

The distance to go system allows each train to vary its overlap, using on-board computers continuously to recalculate train speed and braking distance.

This means that trains can run closer to each other without infringing the block. As a result more trains can run on a line at any time.

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