Greater Dublin Area

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Greater Dublin Area 26/11/2019 at 19:16 #121942
IPG
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Hi all,
I recently got myself closer to the Irish Rail (from a signal engineering point of view), and I started to learn how this a bit odd and unique railway works. I wondered if it would be a good idea to propose a simulation which covers the Greater Dublin Area.

Area:
The core of the simulation would be Connolly. The controllable area would include the DART area, and additionally the Northern line up to Dundalk, as well as the Sligo line from Docklands to Maynooth/M3 Parkway and the current Connolly West interlocking. Possible connections to a Heuston sim, and a NIR sim at Newry.

Description of the area:
The middle of the sim would be the station with the largest passenger traffic in Ireland, which is Connolly station. The trains are crossing each others paths, and the limited place poses a great challenge during the every day traffic management. There are three through platforms where the electrified DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) trains are changing the passengers, as well as the different outer suburban services to/from Pearse and Grand Canal Dock (and there are some longer distance trains to/from Bray and Rosslare). Four bay platforms are serving the Belfast Enterprise trains, as well as the Sligo InterCity trains and some additional outer suburban services. The electrification is limited to the through platforms and one bay platform. There is also a loco shed with turntable, as well as some sidings.
Not too far from Connolly, the recently opened Docklands station serves some peak trains to M3 Parkway. The tracks are crossing under the Northern line.

Towards the North, frequent DART services serve all the stops up to Howth and Malahide stations. The main line is bi-directional up to Clongriffin/Howth Junction. There is no electrification north from Malahide and diesel trains run to Drogheda and Dundalk, with some peak services to Balbriggan together with the Enterprises. Not too far from Connolly, the Fairview Depot and Sidings accomodate the DART EMU sets. There is a DMU base in Drogheda. In Drogheda a branch line goes to Navan, used by some freight trains only, with ground frames at Platin Cement.

To the Northwest on the Sligo line, the outer suburban trains are running up to Maynooth (some extended to Longford), the long distance InterCity trains are running to Sligo. All the passenger services are using the main line via Drumcondra. There is also a single connecting track to the Docklands line from Connolly which is used by ECS movements and in case of possessions. This curve has a lifting bridge over the Royal Canal.
Glasnevin Junction is a key location. The straight routes are Docklands - Maynooth and Connolly - Heuston, and it is possible to travel to/from the Maynooth line from/towards Connolly via a double crossing. Here appear the Docklands trains too in peak hours. Out of peak hours, shuttle service is giving connection for M3 Parkway at Clonsilla.

Towards Heuston, apart from some freight trains and empty movements, the Grand Canal Dock - Hazelhetch services provide connection via the Phoenix Tunnel, extended by some other peak hour services.

To the South, the DART trains are running to Bray and Greystones via Dun Laoghaire The OHLE ends at Greystones. South from this location the Rosslare trains are providing some service. The lines are reversible down to Dun Laoghaire, however there are no block signals on the wrong line between Booterstown and Dun Laoghaire.

Currently there are two locations, where freight trains can appear on the network from North Wall freight yard. At East Wall Junction (between Connolly and Fairview) towards the North and at North Strand Junction (between Connolly and Drumcondra).

Eras:
I would recommend different eras, to simulate the different states of the network.
-1985s: The DART network newly commissioned, new relay interlockings along the way. DART only runs between Bray and Howth. Mechanical boxes on the Maynooth line and in Greystones. More freight trains (and less passenger trains), and more sidings than nowadays. Existing connection from the current Docklands line towards the North Wall freight yard. Pearse station is in its original form, more points and a second turntable in Connolly, but less signals than nowadays.
-2020s: the City Center Resignalling Project is finished, 20 tph headway is provided through the DART network with additional signals on the tracks of the normal running direction, but Connolly station is still a bottleneck. Minor changes in the layout of the RI areas. The 10-minute DART service is expanded with additional outer suburban trains in the core area. All platforms are long enough to accomodate 8-car DART sets. Limited freight operation though.

Challenges/fun bits:
-Lots of trains, squeezing two outer suburban between the 10-minute DART service in peak.
-Limited capability of pointworks, bottlenecks, requiring good traffic management skills in case of delays
-Heterogene train types, mixed operation of diesel and electric sets
-Actually used reversible working in some places, open line overpassing between suburban and Enterprise trains
-Level crossings
-Overlaps, which are sometimes posing additional challanges

I would be happy to hear your opinion about it.

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Greater Dublin Area 26/11/2019 at 19:36 #121945
DaveHarries
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How many miles of network are there across the republic of Eire? The thought crosses my mind that you might be able to do one sim to cover the whole Republic.

(EDIT: Or one sim for Dublin, another for the rest or Eire)

Dave

Last edited: 26/11/2019 at 20:00 by DaveHarries
Reason: None given

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Greater Dublin Area 26/11/2019 at 19:59 #121947
IPG
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DaveHarries in post 121945 said:
How many miles of network are there across the republic of Eire? The thought crosses my mind that you might be able to do one sim to cover the whole Republic.

Dave
There is traffic on approx. 1600 km of railway line .
If the whole network would be modelled, then I would recommend 2 sims, one for the Connolly-based routes, and the rest for the Heuston-based routes. The only connection between the two areas is through the Phoenix Park tunnel.

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Greater Dublin Area 26/11/2019 at 23:01 #121948
TUT
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In my experience, the usual answer to requests for simulations of other countries' railways is the same as the answer to requests for any UK signal box - hey, if you've got the information (all the information) let the powers that be know and who knows where it might go, see, for instance, the two Australian simulations.

However, it must be said, SimSig is designed around UK route signalling, and the interface is based on IECC classic, so there's that to consider too, see:

https://www.simsig.co.uk/Forum/ThreadView/42225?postId=91504

For me.

Look, I perfectly understand SimSig currently offers two Australian simulations, Hong Kong East and a small American sim. It also simulates absolute block, semaphore signalling (including a couple of simulations of mechanical lever frames (as well as ground frames)), traditional LUL signalling, the old Victoria line signalling and a whole range of different areas across the UK, all with their eccentricities and many many of them not operated from VDUs, let alone IECCs.

I don't speak for SimSig, but I have never seen those who do express any hostility to simulating a wide range of systems.

I speak only for myself when I say I think SimSig works best when it simulates standard British MAS, because its interface is based very closely on IECC classic, which was designed for standard British MAS. The sim that got me into SimSig was Victoria LUL, because my love for railways started with the Underground, and I'm still hoping the once-rumoured Northern line sim might one day happen. But you know, SimSig's Victoria line (no offence, I love it and everything) is a little bit of a hack.

As a user, I am sceptical of the benefits of simulating dozens of different signalling systems all through the one Loader, bearing in mind, for example, this episode (confirm added to cancel on right-click), which I know wasn't just about the Ozzie sims:

https://www.simsig.co.uk/Forum/ThreadView/50167

Where we now just have the one loader, it is my perception as a user, not my revelation as a member of the SimSig team, that making all the sims, with all the different systems, work well on the one loader, without fixes for A breaking features of B, can be a problem. I believe (again, speaking only as a user), I have read in the past that the old .exe sims used to occasionally use custom code to simulate odd features of a particular area, and that can make a straight .exe ---> Loader conversion non-trivial. I know the members of the SimSig team are very talented and it is for them to decide what they can and can't do technically. But as a user, I'm not sure how wise it is to go out of our way to look for different signalling systems (including those in use in the UK like CBTC) to try and add onto the one Loader. I have wondered before whether a somewhat backwards step might be useful: keeping the one loader for UK sim and maybe having a separate one for the Ozzie ones? Obviously that's not for me to pronounce on.

Leaving that aside though, this isn't just about me and what I'm interested in. Myself, I'm not that interested in Australian signalling, and don't intend to purchase the Australian sims - but some people are. To all those who've worked hard on those sims, congratulations, I know many people have bought and enjoyed the early releases and I'm sure when the full versions are up and running, they will bring hours of pleasure to many and that's great. But I don't see that SimSig has to simulate anywhere and everywhere and I don't have a lot of interest in learning entirely different "odd and unique" signalling systems from around the world.

Other people may, you know, that's for them to say. You asked for opinions, this is mine, others will have theirs. But while my personal lack of interest shouldn't get in the way of anybody else developing and enjoying sims, I do think a sim is a sim. I don't know about Ireland, but as a general principle, does one not want the experience of playing SimSig to feel close to the real thing? I appreciate that clicking away on SimSig is really not that much like pushing buttons on an NX, and it certainly isn't like pulling full size levers and ringing bells. I appreciate that, say, the Hereford sim (I love that one - a real treat) is a sort of translation of mechanical signalling into the IECC format. But is an "Anglicised" version of other countries' signalling, so that it's operated from an IECC-style interface, appealing to people interested in those signalling systems?

Well perhaps!

I guess I'm just the sort of person who likes products and people that do one or two things very, very well, rather than ones that try and do everything well enough.

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Greater Dublin Area 27/11/2019 at 01:04 #121949
jc92
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That's an interesting post but probably out of place on this thread given how similar Irish signalling Is to the UK. There's virtually no bespoke alterations required to the way simsig works.
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Greater Dublin Area 27/11/2019 at 21:22 #121968
IPG
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Thank you for the reply.

Basically the Irish system is similar to the UK, except some minor differences, which wouldn't been shown in the SimSig anyway.

Also attached some pictures from the CTC.




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Greater Dublin Area 27/11/2019 at 21:53 #121970
Edgemaster
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Three (red, yellow, and green) track status colours are interesting, what do they each mean?
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Greater Dublin Area 28/11/2019 at 15:54 #121981
Stephen Fulcher
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IPG in post 121968 said:
Thank you for the reply.

Basically the Irish system is similar to the UK, except some minor differences, which wouldn't been shown in the SimSig anyway.

Also attached some pictures from the CTC.



Is that IECC or similar technology?

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Greater Dublin Area 29/11/2019 at 20:11 #121994
IPG
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Edgemaster in post 121970 said:
Three (red, yellow, and green) track status colours are interesting, what do they each mean?
In the upper picture.
Red: track occupied (or at least not free)
Yellow: route is set, but signal is not cleared yet (e.g. overlap, approach control, route is called, etc.)
Green: route is set, and signal is clear

Stephen Fulcher in post 121981 said:

Is that IECC or similar technology?
It is an Alstom CTC, remote controlling relay and SSI interlockings, but I don't know the architecture, neither the IECC's, to compare them.

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