Minneapolis Light Rail Train at Station

When officials in Minneapolis were planning a new light rail system that would link Minneapolis and St. Paul, they found that multiple protective equipment enclosures were needed to hold EMI and radio frequency interference-sensitive train control, security, and signaling equipment at over 30 wayside equipment shelters along the route. The equipment in these shelters would manage the many critical control and safety systems along the new 11 mile route, including audio, video and telecom circuits.

A key Minneapolis Light Rail contractor called on LBA to design appropriate EMI protective telecom equipment enclosures. LBA Group, Inc. Chief Technical Officer Dr. Chris Horne, PE led the effort and consulted closely with the rail project’s electrical contractor, Aldridge Electric and a Chicago-based fabricator. LBA applied flexible, out-of-the-box engineering ingenuity to come up with a singular, standard design that could work in all wayside locations, enabling significant procurement cost savings, deployment efficiencies, and lifecycle maintenance savings.

The LBA RF enclosure design not only provided for protection of sensitive equipment from outside RF and electromagnetic interference sources, including the high voltage power lines suspended above the tracks; it also provided complete, rapid equipment accessibility.  This had presented a challenge as the protective enclosures would be mounted in confined spaces against walls. LBA solved this problem by designing a special EMI-compatible hinged rack inside the unique protective cabinets. It permitted easy access to both the front and back of the equipment for critical maintenance and repairs without compromising EMI protection. The end result was a very cost effective, convenient EMI protective enclosure that met mission critical specifications for all wayside control shelter locations.

LBA is currently supporting several light rail projects around the US in Positive Train Control interference, RF safety, and other EMI matters.Horne and LBA VP of Sales, Mike Britner traveled to Minneapolis-St. Paul in June to review the completed EMI protective enclosure installations. They toured the facilities with Aldridge Electric Senior Project Manager, Richard Krzysko. The entire rail system continues to undergo testing with public opening of the new Minneapolis Light Rail Central Corridor in 2014.

This Minnesota project is the latest example of LBA’s services supporting various light rail projects around the US.  LBA technical projects include interference and coverage control for Positive Train Control, RF safety, right-of-way tower compatibility and other EMI matters.

“As new rail lines in the US are built and older infrastructure is upgraded with wireless communication and Positive Train Control (PTC) systems, the potential for additional risks is elevated with radio frequency interference requiring careful analysis and mitigation to ensure electromagnetic compatibility,” said Horne.

LBA is fully committed to producing solutions to mitigate PTC interference, manage RF safety and EMI issues related to the reliability and signal coverage along rail systems and rail right of ways. For more information on LBA’s RF or EMI capability to provide solutions for railway communications and control infrastructure visit: lbagroup.com/services/lba-rf-engineering-capabilities-mobility-fixed-and-broadcast-services. Contact lbagrp@lbagroup.com 252-757-0279.


About The Author

David Horn is an award-winning business and marketing development specialist with LBA Group, Inc. He helps some of the largest companies in the country implement regulatory compliance programs. LBA also utilizes his decades of experience in communications and new media to supplement the global marketing initiatives of the company. He specializes in turning complex topics into informative and entertaining stories.

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