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Vortok Balise Mounting System / Transponder Mounting System


The Challenge

Installing train control transponders/balise as part of the ETCS signaling system involved substantial possession time.  5 main problems were identified:

  • Drilling concrete sleepers typically required 2 hours possession time due to the cure time of the bonding material
  • Where the steel tension rods were compromised, the entire sleeper had to be replaced
  • The bolt system could not be used during cold or even cool weather
  • Steel band systems required digging ballast and re-tamping (minimum of 2 hours possession time per location excluding tamping) and could not be done in frozen conditions
  • Commissioning and verification meant that 1 transponder/balise at around 60% of locations needed to be moved to an adjacent sleeper


Our Solution

During 2006 a number of network operators contacted us following our production of around 120,000 mounting arms for the UK TPWS project.  We adapted this technology to produce a quicker and safer solution for installing transponder/balise.

The engineering team developed a mounting arm that can be fastened in a matter of minutes without the need for any special tools. A fully insulated beam is secured to the existing rail fastening or the foot of the rail.  The balise/transponder can be bolted on in minutes.

The system is fully UNISIG compliant.  In 2008, after significant independent testing, we gained the first of many approvals across Europe and beyond from Siemens.


Value to Client

  • No possession time required and can be fitted in between traffic
  • Installation times reduced from 2 hours to 5 minutes per location
  • Only one person required for installation
  • No drilling or digging ballast so no broken sleepers or need to tamp
  • When ETCS system commissioning or verification requires a balise/transponder to be moved it takes minutes rather than hours
  • Reduced life cycle costs because of the speed of removal and re-installation when maintenance requires that the balise/transponder is removed from track


Fact File

  • System used in over 15 countries including; UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Poland with advanced trials underway across the world
  • We were awarded Level One supplier status (outstanding) by Siemens Group


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Balise & Transducer Mount