Micromotive is a registered trade mark, product name, and division of A1Results Ltd
Developed by Micromotive, the remote operation of yard turnouts is now possible with what is believed to be the only UK manufactured system of this kind.
The system comprises a hydraulically operated actuator, a receiver, and a status indicator. It can easily be retro-fitted to existing turnouts, and also allows the turnout to be trailed in the usual manner.
In operation the turnout receiver must first be in the 'available' state, with the white direction lights flashing periodically. The operator then keys in the turnout number followed by 'U' for unlock. The turnout has then obtained control and will not respond to any other controller. The receiver status now changes to indicate that it is available to take commands from the specific controller.
The operator can now operate the turnout by pressing 'N' or 'R' for normal or reverse, followed by 'L' (for lock). The green 'switch secured', safe to traverse, indication shows that the driver can then proceed.
Once the operator has obtained control of a turnout commands from any other handset are ignored so that only the operator who has taken control of a turnout can initiate commands to it. Control by another operator can only resume after the mechanism has timed out or the original operator relinquishes control. An operator can have control of several points simultaneously if required, either by operating each switch singly or using the Route Selection facility whereby a complete route can be created and Locked from a single set of commands from the handset.
This protection of the turnout operation is an important safety measure.
The handset power is deliberately low to a range of around 100 meters which ensures that only operators in the immediate vicinity can operate a turnout.
Each command requires a continuous press on the U N R L or C button of 1 second to ensure that no command is actioned accidentally.
The turnout is powered hydraulically with a local pump and reservoir. Pressure is only present when the turnout is required for operation so at other times the turnout may be safely trailed, or operated by its original hand lever. Power to operate the pump can be by ground feed cable but optionally can be by battery with wind turbine or similar charging arrangement This is especially useful on turnouts whose operation is infrequent, therefore minimising infrastructure costs.
All points are given a unique number, except crossovers where it would never be practical to do so, with a system maximum of 999. A method of route selection has been added to the operating software giving a maximum of 104 routes with up to 999 points on any route. A software package operating in a Windows environment permits the user to define exactly how the points operate.
The control system and the mechanism are available separately if required, and as the product is our own design and manufacture, adaptations and modifications to suit particular requirements are possible.
During the summer we conducted some trials to determine what, if any, damage would be sustained by either the railway vehicle, the point switch components or the point machine in the event of a trailing movement with the unit was in the pressurized state. This was to establish the effectiveness of one of the point machine operating parameters to meet the requirements of one of our customers.
Two sets of tests were conducted at two different sites giving us the additional benefit of switches of both Bullhead and Flat Bottomed rail construction.
The tests involved vehicles, with both light and heavy axle loads trailing through at speeds up to ten miles per hour.
The conclusion of all the testing was that no damage is sustained by any part of the vehicles involved, the point switch, infrastructure or point machine.
Subsequent unintentional trailing through movements over a switch with the point machine pressurized in service have been recorded by the event logging and monitoring within the point machine and subsequent routine maintenance checks determine that there have been no detrimental effects of any part of the of the entire mechanism.
Same machine, two different sites, two types of construction.
We must express our thanks and gratitude to our customers and the train staff who assisted us in conducting these tests.
Remote Points: operation