Activities in 2019:
SAUDI ARABIA.- COPASA IS REMOVING THE SAND FROM SAUDI HIGH SPEED TRACKS WITH INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY OF ITS OWN
During the entire process of building the Saudi High Speed Line, the sand became the protagonist and main weak point of the project. Once the track has been inaugurated and the trips have started, the Spanish company responsible for the maintenance of the track, COPASA, has developed an applied technology system to prevent sand invading the tracks and hindering the circulation of trains. The main element is a machine that has been developed in just 3 months. At the same time, additional reinforcement measures were developed, such as the placement of sand walls, ridges and sand catchers.
The innovative cleaning system, capable of removing up to 250 cubic meters of sand per night, was developed on two strategic points of great importance:
- The suction of sand against blowing was ruled out, since the working yields would be affected in the small maintenance band, as the material sucked had to be emptied once the hopper was filled. With blowing action, there is no capacity limit as it is posible to evacuate the sand directly out of the line.
- Reduction in investment costs, due to the high cost of purchasing the suction truck, as one of the Plasser & Theurer 09-32 CSM line tamping machines was used, whose working life as a tamping machine had ended in the construction phase of the project.
Therefore there was a self-propelled machine in which a blowing equipment would be installed, so that it would not interfere with driving visibility from the two cabins. The batting groups and all the components that were part of it were disassembled, to lighten the weight and put the air compressor, source of the compressed air, in its place.
The next step was to develop the blow carts. These are located on the bed of the tamping machine, making the decision to have two blowing carts to increase their performance in areas with a lot of sand or hardened sand, having a close position from the work cabin, providing the ability to visualize and control the forward speed by means of a portable control according to the conditions of the line conditions.
Inside the blowing carts, the arrangement of the multiple nozzles was analyzed and designed by means of tests on a section of track specially built for this development, so that it would expel the sand below the rail so as not to reduce the useful life of the tread of the same by the erosion at high pressure of sand from the inside of the slab track to the outside.
A cart lifting action was also implemented using the cardan system, which allows the carts to be lowered when we arrive at the work point, so the movement and translation in line can be done with greater safety and speed, allowing to pass over obstacles without stopping the march.
Performance. In the operation of the machine, two scenarios are presented:
- The sand deposited in the track, leaving the gaps free between sleepers and rail. Output similar to 3 - 3.5 km per hour are achieved.
- The sand covers the gap between the sleepers below the rail or the sand is compacted and wet. The performance is reduced to 1 - 1.5 km per hour.
SAUDI ARABIA.- 250 WORKERS TO MAINTAIN 307 KILOMETERS OF DOUBLE RAILWAY TRACK IN THE MECA-MEDINA HIGH SPEED LINE, UNTIL 2030
To do the works, COPASA, the private company with the largest presence in the Consortium that built the line, uses 2 of the 3 Maintenance Bases located along the route, in which there are warehouses to store materials and spare parts, workshops and Life Camps for the accommodation of staff, both expatriate and local.
One is located at the kilometer 63 and another at 192, to maintain 307 of the total 449 kilometers of double track that the line has, also including the KAIA strech, of 6.5 kilometers of double track. From these 2 Bases, tracks and switches in 4 of the 5 stations of the line (Mecca, Jeddah, KAIA (King Abdullah International Airport) and KAEC (King Abdullah Economic City) are also maintained.
To carry out the work, for which only spare parts for switches are received from Spain, Copasa counts at both bases and at the Jeddah Central Office with:
- 75 expatriate workers (technical and management team, administrative staff, heavy machinery operators and qualified railway operators). Eight of them also have their family living in the city of Jeddah.
- 150 workers from different countries (mainly Pakistanis, Egyptians, Filipinos, Indians, Bangladeshis, and Sri Lankans).
- 25 Saudi workers, to fulfill the Saudi commitment.
The activities that COPASA is carrying out can be classified as follows:
Auscultations.- Visual inspections to determine the quality of the infrastructure, embankments, clearings, drainage, mitigating elements for the presence of sand on the track, enclosure, acoustic screens, bridges and viaducts, and track superstructure in both ballast and ballastless slab track. Physical inspections stand out, especially important in Saudi Arabia after periods of heavy rain or sandstorms, reinforced by monthly inspections in the cabin of a commercial train. The necessary surveying works are also carried out.
Dynamic and geometric auscultations, done once a month, the first using a commercial train instrumented with accelerometers and the second with a track vehicule, equipped with TGMS measurement equipment for track geometry parameters: track gauge, longitudinal leveling, alignment, camber and warp. The results of both are considered as the basis for the maintenance of the track geometry, according to actual condition and in accordance with the applicable regulations.
Ultrasonic lane monitoring, performed once every six months with the Sperry 1900 system installed in an F350 pickup, in order to detect internal lane defects.
Preventive Maintenance.- The actions are executed according to the results of the inspections or auscultations. Once a year the entire line is registered by a Grinding machine (HARSCO RGH 30-30 stones) to detect and avoid fatigue defects derived from the rail-wheel contact. There will also be periodic inspections of the switches and expansion devices and the preparation of the corresponding control sheets, verifying the status of the components of the devices, measurement of track gauges in sleepers both direct and secondary, etc. The non-toleranced values, according to the manufacturer, are corrected at the inspection time.
Corrective Maintenance.- This block includes the repair of the enclosure, the repair of cracks in concrete structures, the lane grinding in the parts that are necessary, with the grinding machine, the replacement of damaged superstructure materials such as sleepers, rail, fasteners, elements or parts of track devices such as turnouts or expansion devices, etc.
POLAND. Track renewal.
The work consists of the renewal of 80 km of double track. Upgrade of 36 level crossings between Jamielnik and Olsztyn, ten of them to be equipped with automatic signalling devices, as well as improvements involving extension of surface area, lighting and access roads. The platforms of five stations will be rebuilt as part of this project.
In SPAIN, COPASA’s railway activity has been centred on two main areas: construction of track infrastructure and stations, and track maintenance on both conventional and high speed lines. In this field the projects in progress during 2019 were:
CERNADILLA–PEDRALBA DE LA PRADERIA. Double-track rail bed.
This forms part of the work on high speed rail access to Galicia. The contracted section is 19 km long. The work consists of the construction of a 14 m wide rail bed for UIC gauge double track for speeds of up to 300 km/h. Among the most important tasks is the construction of two tunnels, one 1,045 m in length and the other 1,270 m, and five viaducts, one of which has 9 spans and is 419 m long, while another has 16 spans and is 756 m long.
RAILWAY INTEGRATION IN THE CITY OF LEON
This project is of vital importance to the integration of the railway in the city. The main actions are: laying of 1,636 m of Iberian gauge double track of which 1,180 m will be ballastless slab track. Underground routing of the line for some 590 m. Construction of a diaphragm wall box 1,166 m in length. A 9 m wide central platform will be built with 410 m of useful platform length. The present passenger building will be refurbished inside and expanded by extending the station lobby westwards as far as the underground area, with accesses from the north and south sides of that area. A vertical access to the underground platform and its boarding area will be built, comprising an electric lift, two escalators, and a stairway.
The present roof will be extended to cover all access points; pedestrians, pick-up and set-down points for taxis, and car drop-off points.
Madrid-Extremadura HIGH SPEED LINE. Cañaveral-Alcántara reservoir
The project consists of the construction of a viaduct of a singular design with a length of 1,488 m. The singular element of this viaduct is its arch with a span of 324 m and a rise of 70 m, formed by a hollow box-like rectangular chamfered section with a variable edge, starting with an edge of 4 m and a width of 12 m, while at the crown the section is 3.50 m and the width 6 m. The bridge was built using the progressive cantilever method, supported by a system of provisional staying. The deck of the arch is supported on six 54 m spans. The structure has 2 lateral spans of 45 m, 16 central spans of 60 m, 2 transition spans of 57m, while the arch has 6 spans of 54 m. In total there are 26 spans.
RAIL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE MEDITERRANEAN CORRIDOR AND THE MADRID–BARCELONA HIGH SPEED LINE
This is one of the most important projects being carried out to upgrade the Mediterranean rail corridor in the province of Tarragona. The section is 62 km long with some Iberian gauge track and some UIC gauge track. Ballastless slab track is to be installed in the Los Rojales Tunnel while the rest of the track is ballasted. Two gauge changers are also installed.
MADRID-GALICIA HIGH SPEED LINE. TABOADELA-OURENSE. IMPLEMENTATION OF MIXED TRACK GAUGE.
Essential action to get the entry of the high speed traffic into Ourense. It is a 13-kilometer stretch with a single track on which it is been doing the renewal of the entire superstructure and materials (ballast, sleepers and rail) and the implementation of the mixed track gauge that allows traffic on both track widths (Spanish and UIC). The layout and existing gauges in structures and tunnels are improved and in addition they are being sealed and waterproofed.
HIGH SPEED MURCIA-ALMERÍA. SANGONERA-TOTANA STRECH.
Through this work, the dual-track High Speed Line in the Mediterranean Corridor is completed at its exit from Murcia to Almería. In addition to the corresponding earth works, 5 ambitious viaducts are built, among which the 55-span and 1,650-meter Alhama Viaduct stands out. It is also considered the construction of two important stations in Librilla and Alhama (elevated over the viaduct) with passenger buildings and parking lots.
RAIL ACCESS TO THE FERROL OUTER PORT
The works consist of the construction of the rail access to the Ferrol Outer Port, a stretch of 6,374.5 m of single track for freight traffic, and a rail bed suitable for Iberian and metre gauge traffic. The line crosses the Ferrol Estuary at the mouth of the A Malata inlet by means of a metal latticework structure, with 5 supports and a length of 299.55 m. At the end of the structure, after a short transition, is the tunnel mouth. The tunnel is 5,575 m long with a horseshoe section with an inner vault radius of 4.14 m, and connects with the esplanade of the Outer Port.
NORTHWEST: ADIF’S CONVENTIONAL NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE AND TRACK.
Maintenance of the conventional gauge lines of the Northwest Subdivision, which includes the maintenance areas of Leon, Ourense, and Salamanca.
Madrid-Valladolid-PALENCIA-LEÓN High speed. TRACK AND TRACK EQUIPMENT.
The purpose of this contract is to perform maintenance work on the Madrid-Segovia-Valladolid-Palencia-León HSL and the spur lines Olmedo-Medina del Campo and Venta de Baños-Burgos.
LGT. CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SLEEPERS
In addition to infrastructure and maintenance related work, the sleeper production facility run by LGT (Luso Galaica de Traviesas) and wholly owned by COPASA is of particular importance.
Located on the Carballiño Industrial Estate (Ourense), the plant uses a carousel production line with a high degree of automatization, designed and installed by the firm P-TEC. Using this system, the company produces pre-stressed sleepers with instant demould. Theoretical production capacity is 300,000 sleepers/year (in three production shifts).
At LGT they can produce sleepers for high speed track (AI-04), conventional track (PR-01), and metre gauge (AM-02). The most important supplies made by LGT in Spain have been for the HS lines Valladolid-León; Venta de Baños-Burgos; Madrid-Levante, and Madrid-Galicia. They have also supplied sleepers for the Atlantic Axis lines Lugo-Parga, Valencia-Joaquín de Sorolla, and Madrid-El Escorial, plus a number of supplies for ADIF Mantenimiento and for switches on the Mecca-Medina High Speed Line. A total of 1,320,000 track sleepers have been supplied.
The production of bi-block sleepers for the ballastless track required for a section of the access to Galicia project in the province of Zamora is about to commence.