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The Community of Madrid tests an automatic track and tunnel inspection system for the first time in a European Metro


Under an agreement concluded by the Directorate General for Infrastructure a pilot test has been carried out on a section of Metrosur line. It obtains images that hitherto could only be collected manually for purposes of their subsequent examination. Madrid is adopting this test procedure as it has been conducted successfully on the Tokyo Underground and other types of tunnels

The Community of Madrid has tried out an innovative system for inspecting and collecting information on the state of the tunnel and track on Metrosur. The system, which had been used successfully to date on the Tokyo Underground and in other types of tunnels, is pioneering in Metro tunnels in Europe. This pilot test was possible thanks to an agreement concluded by the Directorate General for Infrastructure with the Spanish engineering company that designed the system, Euroconsult, and it has involved no cost for the Community of Madrid.

It is the case of a mobile information collection device that runs along the track and uses Laser sensors to collect images automatically of the tunnel and track for their subsequent examination. For this purpose it has six cameras mounted on a mobile vehicle which take pictures of the track and tunnel. These images show what the state of the track layout is and whether damage has taken place as a result of train running in the course of time. This information for instance includes whether any narrowing or widening of the track has occurred that might affect running or whether cracks, damp or ruptures have appeared in the tunnel walls.

In addition, image collection permits the statistical processing of such damage so as to be able to schedule the required maintenance measures. In this respect, by taking these measurements periodically it is possible to analyse the changes in conditions over time, which enables us to foresee the possibility of defects appearing and preventing them from occurring.

Jobs of this kind are essential for the safety and maintenance of the service and for this reason they are performed on a regular basis, but manually, in all the tunnels in the Metro de Madrid system as part of the maintenance schedule.

The greater flexibility and speed of this system compared with manual data collection enables us to obtain more detailed knowledge of changes in the state of the tunnels through the processing and recording of the inspections for subsequent analysis. We should mention that data collection assignments of this kind can only be carried out at night-time when the lines are out of service, so the time available is very limited and speed therefore is a great advantage, which will be verified by the Directorate General for Infrastructure with this pilot test.

Spanish engineering
This innovative system has been developed by the Spanish engineering company Euroconsult, along with a Canadian company specialized in Laser systems, and represents a contribution by Spanish engineering to technological advance in infrastructure.

This pilot test has been conducted during the current month of May in the section of the Metrosur line between Juan de la Cierva and Bercial, and a separate inspection was carried out in each direction on two different nights.

After completing the test, the Company will make the result of the inspections performed and the data obtained in the test available to the Directorate General for Infrastructure so that the technical services of the Department may assess the working of the system and the usefulness of the information obtained.


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