Metro Barcelona

Hop on, hop off – always safely!

To keep pace with the challenges of today's societies for safe and convenient mobility and climate protection at the same time, public transportation must be much more automated than it is today. Therefore, train control systems must be capable of supervising, operating and controlling the entire operational process. Automatic train operation, protection and control using COTS PLC systems are state of the art, as the example of Barcelona shows.

1.6 million people live and work in Barcelona, the tenth largest municipality in the European Union. Here in the northeast of Spain, a dense network of metro and bus lines provides public transportation. Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) operates eight lines, 165 stations and 162 trains that run during rush hours and provide service – on each workday of each week. The metro connects Barcelona with seven other municipalities in the metropolitan area. 

To further optimize the network, TMB has also been using automated trains for the past several years. Alstom S9000 driverless vehicles are in operation on the L9 / L10 line, which are equipped with active passenger information systems, such as light signals, internal public address and emergency intercom systems. They are also equipped with a display system consisting of LCD screens, fire alarm and video surveillance systems. All trains have an exit ramp at the front that can be used in an emergency. In addition, a comprehensive safety package has been installed that not only replaces train operators, but also connects the train to the other elements of the system. 

CBTC system and GoA4 ensure safety

Operator TMB uses the CBTC (Communications Based Train Control) system and – the highest level of automation within the possible range – GoA4 to operate its metro. These "Grades of Automation" indicate which basic train operation functions are the responsibility of the staff and which are the responsibility of the system itself. However, the stations themselves also have to change when they are operated in this way: Since opening and closing of doors is also the responsibility of operating staff, it is particularly important to install platform screen doors that prevent people or objects from falling on to the tracks. In recent years, several metro stations in Barcelona have been equipped with Platform Screen Doors (PSD) by different manufacturers being MASATS one of them. 

Polis Karatzas, PSD Manager and Joan Enrich, Lead System Engineer at MASATS , were looking for a control system to be integrated into their PSD architecture when they came across the HIMA solution: "Compared to proprietary solutions, the HIMA approach offers us many advantages. We save on cabling and the systems are simple and quick to program." And with regard to safety, the arguments were also in favor of HIMA: "Although we often only need SIL2 solutions, we are flexible with HIMA because the systems are certified with SIL4. This gives us a cost-effective solution while maintaining the highest safety level," says Karatzas. Joan adds that “such aspects as the size of the product and DIN rail mounting were also important  advantages”, in addition to the size and simplicity of the plug connection, which he finds very efficient.

"Compared to proprietary solutions, the HIMA approach offers us many advantages. We save on cabling and the systems are simple and quick to program."

Polis Karatzas, PSD Manager and Joan Enrich, Lead System Engineer at MASATS

Platform screen doors can be isolated individually

Automatic operations would quickly become inefficient if individual parts caused the entire system to fail. MASATS has, therefore, developed an independent isolation system for its PSD system. With it, the availability of the entire system is independent of individual doors. In the event of failure of individual units, they are isolated both electrically and mechanically therefore eliminating the need for authorized  personnel to stand in front of the isolated door. This way, the station can continue its operation without further delays and interruptions. 
Brushless DC motors are also employed to  eliminate the need for maintenance. Thanks to such sophisticated control and monitoring systems trains can, thus, run more frequently overall during peak hours. This increases network capacity and supports a flexible response to public mobility needs.

"Although we often only need SIL2 solutions, we are flexible with HIMA because the systems are certified with SIL4. This gives us a cost-effective solution while maintaining the highest safety level,"

Polis Karatzas, PSD Manager at MASATS

Open control HIMatrix F30 reduces costs

The HIMatrix F30 open safety controllers with RIO and CUT functions enable system integrators to incorporate their own safety solutions. This makes end customers and integrators independent of proprietary solutions and saves considerable costs, because all HIMA controllers are commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) products. The systems already comply with the strict SIL 4 standard according to CENELEC ex-factory. 

After the good results during the test and validation phases, and after the operation had run smoothly, MASATS received an order last year to also equip the new Metro Barcelona´s station Trinitat Nova (L11) with its PSD system:

16
sliding modules
50
emergency doors
110
meter of fixed modules

were pre-assembled in the factory, so that only a short time was needed to install and commission a door module on the platform. Advantages of modular pre-assembly are: less wiring, faster commissioning and shorter planning time. The final operational testing with the SIEMENS signaling system on Trinitat Nova was processed in only four days. In addition, the use of the HIMA PLC makes the system more flexible and future-proof. Together with the PLC come several functions that are not directly connected to the door system, such as communication with the interlocking system, detection of people on the track and train approach.

Brown field installation can be operated overnight step by step without influencing the train operation during the day. The positive aspects are also particularly evident in the schedule of the L11 Trinitat Nova station: The teams just needed six months – including design, installation, integration into the signaling system and the acceptance tests. The line now is open seven days a week with a demanding schedule ranging from 19hrs/day during weekdays and 24hrs/day during weekends and holidays.