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Chatham Subdivision CTC installation

The work of PNR RailWorks’ Signals & Communications division has improved the safety, frequency and speed of passenger rail service along VIA Rail's busy Toronto-Windsor route.
Project Highlights 
  • Installed an advanced centralized traffic control (CTC) system
  • Wired and installed 23 bungalows
  • Put in grade crossing gate protection at 21 crossings
Chatham, Ontario
VIA Rail
Business Unit 
PNR RailWorks
Project Description 

PNR RailWorks installed an advanced centralized traffic control (CTC) system and upgraded safety protection at 21 VIA Rail crossings on the Chatham Subdivision.

Project Scope 

Over an 18-month period, a dedicated S&C crew installed an advanced CTC system and upgraded safety protection at crossings on a 56-kilometer portion of
VIA Rail’s Chatham subdivision, located just across the border from Detroit in Windsor, Ontario, and extending northeast to Chatham.

This subdivision has operated with no signal system and limited crossing protection since passenger service began in 1853. The S&C upgrades transformed the “dark territory” into a route with a state-of-the-art CTC system and modern crossing protection featuring a constant warning system for VIA Rail trains traveling at speeds up to 100 mph. Work began in PNR RailWorks’ S&C shop in Guelph to wire 23 bungalows and then install them along the route. The crew worked in the field to run local cable for each bungalow and to install the accompanying grade crossing gate protection at each of the subdivision’s 21 crossings. The next step was to install the CTC system, which included new bungalows and switch machines a t a new siding that was constructed at Stoney Point.

Unique Features 

One of the challenges of this project was coordinating with the local power authority, particularly at remote locations with only standard crossbucks and no existing local AC power at the crossing. In some instances, the utility had to build pole lines to provide power to the crossing. When commissioning a crossing, the PNR RailWorks crew worked through detailed commissioning procedures to maintain the safety of the current system and to ensure the safety of the new system.

With cooperation from project managers on other jobs, equipment and resources were made available to schedule work year-round to take into account freezing winter conditions. All work also was coordinated around a track contractor performing upgrades on the line.