DUBAI — If those serpentine Metro viaducts are causing you palpitation, relax. For the Dubai Metro is going to be a safe ride.
The Rail Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) had appointed an independent Safety Assessor to ensure that the system requirements are completely defined and the risks eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level, said Ahmed Al Hammadi.
“The Dubai Metro has various features that will contribute to its safety and reliability. These include a Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC) system, bottom contact conductor rail with insulated covers as used on Metros in Singapore, Italy, Taipei and Oslo, a radio system that integrates the Metro with the emergency services and continuously recording front and rear facing cameras on rolling stock for incident investigation,” Hammadi said.
Other features include Platform Screen Doors, derailment containment by means of concrete plinth up-stand throughout Metro main line, continuous fencing and an Intruder Alarm System to prevent people from entering the guideway, track maintenance vehicles fitted with the CBTC.
“Besides these, provisions of concrete barriers, enhanced parapets on bridges, a Wayside Obstacle Detection system, etc, will protect the guideway from intrusion by road vehicles and other objects, and a walkway is provided along entire alignment for access and emergency evacuation, and last but not the least, the project is in compliance with various benchmark standards,” Hammadi said.
He said that training and operating procedures were undergoing extensive testing and trials to ensure the system is safe. “Safety of passengers and the system is the top priority of the RTA. Train operation is protected by the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, which is a tested and proven technology used around the world. If any train breaks down on the track, all trains behind it stop automatically — so no crashes.
“The ATP tells us about the movement of the train and other trains around. If there is any problem, it will immediately stop the train automatically. Through the system, we would know in the control room about the locations of all trains.
“There will be cameras inside the cars of all the trains and at the stations to monitor passengers. The construction material used at the stations and the trains is fire resistant with zero halogen and no toxics. It is also scratch proof. Fines and penalties will also be announced later against those responsible for causing damage to trains, stations and putting lives of passengers in danger,” the official pointed out.
Computers at the Central Control Room run the trains. The computers have software backups as well for extra protection.
“Also, if there is any problem in the train and it cannot be operated from the Control Room, our staff in the train will drive it manually to the nearest station. There will be at least one staff member on every train to help passengers and ensure safety,” Hammadi said.
“A comprehensive evacuation plan is in place. The first priority will be to drive the train manually to the nearest station. If it is not possible, passengers will be allowed to disembark on the tracks. The tracks have walkways to help passengers walk up to the nearest evacuation point. There is one evacuation point at every 700 metres according to the international standard.”
“If the passengers are on the elevated track, they will be able to use stairs to come down or they will be able to come out of the tunnels. Tunnels have ventilation fans and have a system of extracting gases. All staff deputed at the trains and the stations will be trained as the first response team and to provide first aid before the police and paramedics arrive in case of any untoward incident,” he said.
wIn addition, there will be a dedicated security force not only to protect passengers but also trains, stations and tracks.
There are three Main Power stations (MPS) built for the Metro operations.
MPS 1 and MPS 3 will feed the entire Metro Red and Green Lines and the entire power rail and the stations. MPS 2, located at Union Square, will act as a standby station should there be an electrical fault at either stations.
“Two main power stations (MPS 1 & 2) have been completed, energised and handed over by the contractor to RTA and DEWA, and the last MPS is now undergoing equipment testing before its energisation,” the official said.