The Plum Line tests maintenance-free operation

On the so-called Plum Line (Čížkovice - Obrnice), its owner AZD Praha prepares the transition to maintenance-free operation. It will be the first railway line in our country which, besides regular preventive maintenance interventions, will not need so-called linemen, who regularly check the technical condition of the line.

The innovative Global Diagnostic System, which will continuously monitor and evaluate important track parameters and all technologies installed on it, is located in the technology room at the Třebívlice station. Smart technology can even predict some fault conditions, so service technicians will intervene before the fault itself, avoiding traffic restrictions.

Instead of linemen, the integrity of the rails will be guarded by a special FTS system with optical cable that monitors the vibrations of rails as a train passes. When a crack or fracture occurs, the system detects this and accurately identifies the location. As soon as legislative problems are resolved, it is planned that when a crack or fracture is detected, or when other failure conditions are detected on the route, a drone will take off and fly automatically in the defined flight corridor outside the movement of people and cars to observe the real situation. At the moment, the drones are tested under the supervision of technicians with very satisfactory results.

Railroad level crossings, ETCS system (European Train Control System), operation of information and public address systems, lighting of stations and stops and other elements will also be monitored. Also the technical condition of culverts and bridges will be monitored after mounting of smart sensors.

We expect from this innovative system, which will be in trial operation for a year, the significant reduction of the operational costs of the entire line, the streamline of service technicians' interventions, and the minimization of traffic restrictions. At present, the line is without traffic staff, as it is remotely controlled from the dispatcher’s workplace at Lovosice railway station. I am convinced that the diagnostics and automated responses to deteriorated track parameters means the future which will bring the fluency of rail transport,” says Zdeněk Chrdle, CEO of AŽD.