What keeps Dubai Metro trains on track?


By Anjana Kumar, photos by Zarina Fernandes, Staff Reporter  www.gulfnews.com


It’s 1am and a long day has come to an end. After running 19 hours non-stop, the train enters the temperature-controlled (24 degrees Celsius) stabling area at Rashidya Depot where it stays for five hours. Workers get on the job as soon as the train stops. Some check the mechanical and electrical systems, while others carry out other basic inspections. Any defect is immediately reported to the maintenance management section.


A set of spray arches and brushes is used to wash the trains every two to three days. This is done at automatic washing bays which work on the same principle as car-washes. Detergents are used to get rid of dust and dirt. The procedure is environment-friendly and about 80 per cent of the water is recycled. It takes around five minutes to wash a train.


Train wheels wear just as car tyres do and they must be checked regularly. When the wear reaches certain limits, the treads have to be reprofiled to the correct shape. A wheel profiling facility known as a wheel lathe is used to reprofile the wheels while still on the train. It can take up to two hours to reprofile each wheel. Since each train has 20 wheels, the entire excercise lasts around two days. Four trains with 80 wheels can produce around one tonne of scrap metal flakes all of which is recycled.


Just like the wheels, the train tracks are also checked for wear and tear and need reprofiling. To ensure a smooth run, a sophisticated device called the track monitor is used to assess the worthiness of the track. Its findings are calibrated and sent to another machine and any defect is promptly corrected.This excerise is carried out annually.


At 5.30 am — just half an hour before the Metro service resumes for the day — two sweep trains roll out of the depot and run along the entire length of the Red and Green lines to ensure there are no obstacles on the lines. The Operations Control Centre monitors the movements of the trains, their frequency and the distance between them. The 5,000 CCTV cameras in the Metro stations are also scanned from here. More info and photos

Image Credit: Gulf News archives Squeaky clean: The trian comes out bright and shiny after a visit to the bay
Image Credit: Gulf News archives Squeaky clean: The trian comes out bright and shiny after a visit to the bay