The Chinese Train Control System (CTCS, Chinese: 中国列车控制系统) is a train control system used on railway lines in People's Republic of China. CTCS is similar to the European Train Control System (ETCS).
It has two subsystems: ground subsystem and onboard subsystem. The ground subsystem may based on balise, track circuit, radio communication network (GSM-R), and Radio Block Center (RBC). The onboard subsystem includes onboard computer and communication module.
There consists of 5 different levels (Level 0 to Level 5).
Levels 2, 3, and 4 are back-compatible with lower levels.
For railway lines where operational speeds are below 120 km/h (75 mph):
Level 0 is used on lines with conventional trackside signalling. Train drivers follow trackside signals primarily, with cab signals as back-up. UCS receives train fixed block occupation signals from track circuits and is shown as cab signals using digital signal processes. TOSU/LKJ is used to supervise speed limits and can only advise train drivers on braking curves. The drives are mainly responsible for maintaining train speed protection.
For railway lines where operational speeds are below 160 km/h (99 mph):
Balises are installed in addition to track circuits. Automatic train protection (ATP) is enabled on CTCS level 1. Drivers use cab signals as primary signals. Train circuits are responsible for detecting track occupancy and integrity. Temporary speed restrictions, train positions and track data are provided intermittently.
For high-speed railways where operational speeds are below 250 km/h (160 mph):
The track circuit is used both for train occupation detection and movement authorization, its architecture is similar to TVM-300. Balises and track circuit serves to provide intermittent trackside information and automatic train protection (ATP) to cab equipment. Trackside signalling is not mandatory and can be replaced with cab signalling using DMI. LKJ can be equipped as redundancy on CTCS-0 lines. Minimum headways on CTCS-2 is 180 seconds.
This system is compatible with ETCS-1.
For high-speed railway of above 250 km/h (160 mph):
CTCS-3 introduces GSM-R radio for bidirectional data transmission. Track circuits are used as a redundant system to CTCS-3. Train positions can be accurately calculated using balises and onboard odometers which are transmitted to Radio Block Centres (RBCs). Authorisation of train movement is created by RBCs and transmitted onto on-board cab equipment using GSM-R. Using both trackside equipment and onboard equipment, ATP can be achieved. Trackside signalling is not mandatory and can be replaced with cab signalling using DMI. It is considered to be a "quasi-moving-block" system.
This is currently in use for all of the 200–250 km/h (120–160 mph) lines on China's high-speed railway system, with a backup system of CTCS-2. CTCS-3 is equivalent to ETCS-2.
It would feature the complete elimination of track circuits, moving blocks and self-train-integrity-check, which would significantly reduce the number of conventional track signalling equipment needed. Train integrity would be completely detected entirely through CTCS-3. Data transmission would be performed on GSM-R or LTE-M. Trackside signalling is not mandatory and can be replaced with cab signalling using DMI.
Currently, Level 4 is not in use on any tracks and exists only as a conceptual system equivalent to ETCS-3. It is being developed and defined by signalling manufacturers in China.