During the trial run phase of a new metro line or a line extension, the operator demonstrates it is capable of operating and maintaining the system in an efficient and safe manner, according to the required specifications. Its successful completion is a precondition for the start of passenger service.
This essential phase assumes greater importance in the case of automated lines, due to the specificities of unattended metro operations. In this context, the UITP Observatory of Automated Metros has prepared a set of recommendations, published in a new Knowledge Brief.
“Compared to traditional non-automated lines, the trial run of an automated system is especially important due to both a higher technological system complexity as a whole and a critical organisation considering the smaller amount of staff on trains and in stations. The recommendations in this Knowledge Brief were prepared in order to help organisations plan and conduct a successful trail run phase”, said Ramon Malla, Chairman of the UITP Observatory of Automated Metros and Director of Automated Lines at Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.
Three months minimum for new lines
Based on the experience of members of the Observatory, the new report describes what should be in place in order to start the trial run phase and what the tests should verify. It also provides recommendations on the different roles and responsibilities of concerned parties and the way to measure the success of the tests.
One key recommendation regards the minimum duration of trial runs: at least three months in the case of new lines; between one and three months for extensions, depending on the size of the extension, the number of new staff and the operating complexity.
Specificity of automated metro staff
The Trial Runs Knowledge Brief also provides several recommendations regarding staff, which has different functions in UTO lines than staff in traditional lines.
“In automated metro lines compared to non-automated lines, an enhanced level of knowledge and training for staff is required”, said Carlo Bianco, Operations Director for Automated Metro Lines at Azienda Trasporti Milanesi. “One of the objectives of the trial run is for staff to become familiar with the new assets being brought into passenger service. However, all operator staff should already be in place and fully trained, tested and certificated before the start of the trial run phase in order to be able to carry out tests efficiently”, he added.
Total length of UTO lines to triple in ten years
The UITP Observatory of Automated metros gathers the world’s leading operators with experience in UTO. It exchanges best practices in key issues affecting automated metro operation and monitors the global evolution and trends in line automation development and implementation.
In October 2015, there were 732 km of UTO lines operating in public transport service in the world, spread over 52 lines in 25 cities. For 2025, this number is set to increase to over 2,200 km of automated metro lines.
Click here to access the Knowledge Brief (UITP members only)