How China is connecting a billion-plus citizens with the world’s longest high-speed rail line

25 October 2013 | Lane Swensen, Senior Product Marketing Specialist, Software, Invensys

China is well known for large-scale infrastructure projects. One such project is the development of a nationwide, high-speed rail line for safe, comfortable, and efficient travel.

The China Ministry of Railways is responsible for passenger services, regulation of the country’s rail industry, development of the rail network, and the overall rail infrastructure. In a country with over 1.3 billion people and that encompasses more than 3.7 million square miles, it is no small task. China needed a passenger station management system that could be implemented quickly and expanded efficiently, as well as one that would easily integrate with China’s existing rail technology infrastructure. The government agency also wanted a user-friendly interface that would make operating and managing the railway network as economical as possible.

The first 75-mile line was inaugurated during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, with services between Beijing and Tianjin. For the initial project, the China Ministry of Railways selected solutions from Invensys. Invensys provides industrial software based on Microsoft technology, and offers the unique advantage of off-the-shelf, object-oriented software, in contrast to previous passenger service systems in China that were based on proprietary solutions that were expensive, hard to configure, and difficult to maintain. With solutions from Invensys, the China Ministry of Railways was able to scale, beginning with the Olympic line and extending it in stages to the entire nationwide network as needed.

The complex rail network involves the collaboration of over 60 different third-party vendors for each station’s facility management system (FMS). To manage station technology infrastructure, the China Ministry of Railways engaged the services of Easyway Company Limited, an Invensys Ecosystem Partner that specializes in railway solutions. Every vendor can communicate seamlessly with each other because of the Invensys Wonderware® System Platform, which allows Easyway to quickly and easily respond to China Ministry of Railways requirements. Wonderware System Platform provides a single, scalable platform for all supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), supervisory human machine interface (HMI), and manufacturing execution system (MES) activities required by railway operators to manage overall facility operations. System Platform also provides a simple upgrade path to easily add new software and hardware to the system.

Called the Passenger Information System, the FMS provides an integrated and centrally managed platform to support communications equipment, including the public address system, video displays and automated ticket sales, plus closed-circuit television monitors and other components used to manage operations and safety systems. Operators depend on Wonderware InTouch® HMI software for overall visualization—whether they are working at a remote station or a central monitoring location. Railway operators use the software to view the status of each device, plus they receive and manage alarm information and easily apply corrections when needed.

Scalability is among the highest priorities of the Passenger Information System. Due to the open software-based system, engineers are able to develop applications and then easily reproduce them. Standardized objects promote repeatability and customization and save time, so that new station deployments meet strict budgets and deadlines. When changes are needed, they can be made at select stations or rolled out system-wide, thanks to the Invensys application templates.

China’s journey to provide extensive rail transportation services continues. More than 220 railway stations across 15 high-speed rail lines are controlled by Invensys software. By the time the project is fully complete in 2020, more than 800 new stations will be running on Invensys technology solutions throughout the 7,500-mile rail network.

Lane Swensen
Senior Product Marketing Specialist, Software, Invensys

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About the Author

Lane Swensen | Senior Product Marketing Specialist, Software, Invensys

Lane is in the Industry Solutions and Services marketing group at Invensys and is involved in taking infrastructure and smart cities software solutions to market. Read more