Monday, 3 July 2023, 11:09
Level crossings on railway tracks are always a worry in the areas where they are located, often feared because of the risk of accidents and frequently criticised when they fail causing delays. Realistically, most of them are not going to be eliminated, due to the high cost of the necessary work in relation to the population served, but at least Spain's rail infrastructure company (Adif) has programmed a series of improvements to make them more visible to drivers and pedestrians and use new technology to help make them safer.
The Adif tender website has just published a contract that includes a list of the crossings to be upgraded in Malaga province. There are almost fifty of them, distributed on all the Iberian gauge lines, in addition to those located in Malaga city to allow freight convoys to pass through on their way to the port.
Starting with the line from Bobadilla to Algeciras, the main areas to be improved are in Ronda (8), Cortes de la Frontera (4), Cañete la Real (3), Campillos (2) and Benaoján (1).
On the Bobadilla-Granada line there are eight in Archidona and two in the municipality of Antequera. And on the old Cordoba-Malaga line (not high-speed), the crossings are located in Alora (3), Fuente de Piedra (2) and Antequera (1). In addition to this list, there are three more on the Antonio Machado promenade and Calle Héroe de Sostoa in Malaga city.
The Spanish government has authorised the modernisation of more than a thousand level crossings throughout Spain, for a total amount of 14 million euros. The upgrade plan aims to make the protection facilities more reliable and to improve the availability and regularity of railway operation. In addition, new technological systems will be incorporated to control and supervise the state of the crossings and use artificial intelligence cameras to detect obstacles in real time.
The work will focus on class A2 level crossings (with warning lights and acoustic signals, for pedestrians only or pedestrians and livestock) and class A3 and A4 (protected by half-barriers, double half-barriers or automatic or interlocked barriers), all of them on the conventional and metric gauge rail networks.
Among the most important actions is the installation of new, more advanced monitoring equipment, which will help improve maintenance and availability of the crossings. This technology will make it possible to improve the control and check the status of each crossing, using both Adif's communications network and new systems installed in these areas.
The replacement of obstacle detectors and the installation of a new detection system at certain crossings, using artificial intelligence cameras based on the use of video analysis technologies, will also be carried out. This innovative system will complement the existing protection systems to improve road and rail traffic safety (warning lights and acoustic signals, half-barriers, double half-barriers or automatic or interlocked barriers). Its job is to alert controllers of the presence of obstacles (vehicles or other objects) on the track in the area of the crossings.
Other improvement works will consist of the renovation of track circuits; upgrading of railway signals to fibre optic; upgrading of illuminated signals to LED technology; replacement of pedestrian warning lights and installation or replacement of rubber road surfaces, among others.
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