Project overview

Ematics were appointed to design and build a maintenance and staff training facility for Network Rail, utilising a purpose-built ‘Virtual Live’ training system to simulate the existing High Speed 1 (HS1) Ventilation Control System.


This is currently maintained by Network Rail as a part of their contract to operate and maintain the line until 2025. The training system has been design to be a fully working “mock-up” of the existing control system including Hardwired Backup Control Panels, Redundant PLCs, SCADA Servers, Client PCs and utilises both physical and virtual hardware to accurately replicate the on-site installed system and conditions.

The system includes the following systems:

  • Mitsubishi PLC Control System
  • Dual Redundant Master PLC system
  • 1 Redundant Outstation PLC System
  • 10 Single PLC Outstation System
  • 5 Single Cross Passage PLC System
  • Manual Override Pushbutton Panel
  • Citect SCADA System
  • Dual Redundant SCADA Servers
  • 3 SCADA Client Workstation
  • Ethernet Data Communications Network
  • Custom Built Train Position Simulator
  • Custom Built PLC I/O Simulator

In-house developed custom simulation software provides the I/O field response, which along with the custom interface software allows for full simulation of the Route Control Centre (RCC) System to provide the SCADA with Train Track position and Train Berth ID’s

Staff Training Facility

The facility is primarily used to provide Network Rail staff with in-house training on a “Virtual Live” system where pre-determined incident scenarios can be simulated, and operator response tested, ensuring the look and feel of the training system is the same as the live system. A variety of simulators are used to allow automated sequences to run as if it were a live plant.

  • Start/Stop Ventilation Fans
  • Open Close Dampers
  • Inject System Failures
  • Start Smoke Extraction Scenarios
  • Inject System Faults such as Fan and Damper Failures
  • Simulate Train position and berth IDs
  • Fully Automated I/O simulator
  • Full Systems Communications Setup

Maintenance Facility

The Ventilation Control System is rated to SIL 3 in accordance with BSEN 61508 and therefore any system maintenance or system improvements must be both fully validated and the change control process verified against these SIL requirements. This is not possible with a live only system so the facility doubles as a maintenance and development platform where system defects or system improvements can be tested and evaluated before being implemented on the live system.

The facility was used recently to test and evaluate a system upgrade and the facility was connected via VPN to other system contractors in Paris, such that the facility was connected to another simulator in order to carry out a 100% interface test before being implemented onsite. Following these tests, the upgrade was verified to SIL 3 and successfully implemented onsite by multiple contractors in a single night time shift.

In-house Control Room

The training facility is hosted in our Manchester head office and sited in one of our Network Operations Centre (NOC) rooms, which has been built to provide operators with the look anf feel of a control room environment.

This provides a more realistic environment both to train and assess the progress of the trainees and includes facilities such as:

  • Fitted Operator Desks and operator Chairs
  • Wired Network Infrastructure
  • Cisco Managed Ethernet Switches
  • VoIP System using Cisco Call Manager
  • CCTV System
  • Video Wall
  • Weytec KVM setup

Our Services

Ematics provided a SCADA Mitsubishi Citect MX4 system, and delivered supporting services to include:

  • Site Surveys
  • System Architecture Design
  • Network Infrastructure Design
  • Software Development
  • SCADA Systems Integration
  • CAD Drawing
  • Containment System Design
  • Installation
  • Electrical Services
  • Testing & Commissioning