Regional Government of Madrid renews signalling on line 4 of underground to improve transport, safety and efficiency capacities
The Regional Government of Madrid will renew the railway signalling on line 4 to reduce travel times on the trains, thus homogenising the different existing systems, which will allow transport, safety and efficiency capacities to be improved in maintenance.
The Acting Regional Councillor for Transport, Housing and Infrastructure, Rosalía Gonzalo, visited the works under way today, which will receive an investment of more than 14.6 million euros.
Rosalía Gonzalo pointed it that in order for the whole renovation of the signalling to become effective, it is also necessary to implement actions on a total of 105 train units of the 3,000 model and 42 units of the 2,000 model, which require the download of the new software map, an action which can be completed almost immediately.
The works to modify the set of interlocks (track circuits, beacons, protection and driving systems, signals and all types of equipment necessary to implement the new system) began back in October 2018, with a period of implementation of 21 months. Works are currently being carried out at night and are 61% completed.
Various railway signalling technologies co-exist on line 4, with different features of different ages. Between the stations of Bilbao and San Lorenzo, the system of Speed Codes is employed, with security interlocks and installations that are more than 30 years old in some cases, while between Argüelles and Bilbao an Objective Distance (OD) system has been developed. The goal is to extend this latter system throughout line 4.
Objective Distance systems offer greater transport capacity, better management of degraded situations by optimising safety levels in all situations (incidents, one-off failures on certain equipment, etc.) which may lead to the need for manual driving involving a human factor since it employs a system of integrated support and greater functionalities to mitigate certain situations. It also improves reliability, availability, maintainability and the safety of the line under any circumstances.
The new railway signalling throughout the line will also allow interoperability between lines and the optimisation of the main stations, and is also a scalable system. Actions will be carried out on a total of 17 stations and on more than 10 kilometres of tunnels.
Metro seeks to undertake the complete modernisation of line 4. To this end, in January 2018, a project was initiated to introduce the TETRA radiotelephony communications system. This was completed in October 2018, after the placement of aerials, alterations to communications room equipment, the installation of GPS cables and the corresponding tests.
At present, the railway signalling project is being tackled and other initiatives to maintain high levels of quality on the line will gradually be included in the modernisation programme.
The current line 4 was inaugurated in 1932 as a branch of line 2 between Goya and Diego de León stations. It was not until 23 March 1944 that it became a line in its own right after opening the section between Argüelles and Goya stations, although the branch continued to be operated independently. This was definitively incorporated to the line in 1958, which allowed it to be extended between Diego de León and Alfonso XIII stations, a stretch inaugurated on 26 March 1973.
On 5 May 1979, a new extension was opened through to Esperanza station. It was not until 1998 that the line extended to Parque de Santa María station, and then the last section was inaugurated on 11 April 2007, which extended to Pinar de Chamartín station.
This staggered growth is what has led to the use of different electrification systems (railway overhead contact lines, tramway, conventional catenary, rigid catenary), as well as different generations of railway signalling systems which it was necessary to renovate and make uniform.