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The Copenhagen Metro: a 24/7 system

Posted: 22 December 2009 | Claudio Cassarino, Managing Director, Metro Service A/S | No comments yet

The symbol of the Copenhagen Metro is the white trains running both above and underground, servicing approximately 50 million passengers each year. So far this year, the service availability has been recorded at 98.6% – with headway down to approximately 120 seconds – all this running on a 24/7 service.
24/7 service introduced in March 2009

The Copenhagen Metro is one of the first driverless Metros operating on a 24/7 basis within a two-track system, which means maintenance activities will be performed in one track, while at the same time service will be carried out on the other track. This means that all track maintenance activities are performed in a four hour timeframe each night. This has been made possible by implementing independent switch control on the whole system. All alterations have been performed in 2008.

The symbol of the Copenhagen Metro is the white trains running both above and underground, servicing approximately 50 million passengers each year. So far this year, the service availability has been recorded at 98.6% - with headway down to approximately 120 seconds - all this running on a 24/7 service. 24/7 service introduced in March 2009The Copenhagen Metro is one of the first driverless Metros operating on a 24/7 basis within a two-track system, which means maintenance activities will be performed in one track, while at the same time service will be carried out on the other track. This means that all track maintenance activities are performed in a four hour timeframe each night. This has been made possible by implementing independent switch control on the whole system. All alterations have been performed in 2008.

The symbol of the Copenhagen Metro is the white trains running both above and underground, servicing approximately 50 million passengers each year. So far this year, the service availability has been recorded at 98.6% – with headway down to approximately 120 seconds – all this running on a 24/7 service.

24/7 service introduced in March 2009

The Copenhagen Metro is one of the first driverless Metros operating on a 24/7 basis within a two-track system, which means maintenance activities will be performed in one track, while at the same time service will be carried out on the other track. This means that all track maintenance activities are performed in a four hour timeframe each night. This has been made possible by implementing independent switch control on the whole system. All alterations have been performed in 2008.

Planning all maintenance activities to take place within such a short timeframe during the night has been a huge, challenging effort and demanded (and will continue to demand) professionalism and skill from maintenance and operational management, technical and control room staff – not to mention service personnel.

New extension – a circle line called Cityringen

The fourth phase of the Metro in Copenhagen – the Cityringen – is expected to open in 2018.

The route of the Cityringen will run underground and consist of 17 stations that cover major parts of the city centre as well as the surrounding districts. A round trip on the new Cityringen is expected to take 24 minutes.

The actual construction of Cityringen will begin in 2010. By that time, archeologists from The Museum of Copenhagen will have completed what the museum terms ‘the largest Northern European archeological excavation to date’. At the same time, a number of changes to the city’s utility grid will be implemented.

Cityringen will take the form of an approximately 15.5km-long underground railway. Cityringen will have frequent departures and operate without a defined timetable – something which we are already familiar with thanks to the Metro. The average travelling speed through the city will be 40km/h, stops at stations included. It will take approximately 24 minutes to travel all the way around the circle line. But when trains are running in both directions, the longest single trip will take approximately 14 minutes.

The current Metro system

The overall principles for the Copenhagen Metro are to operate light trains (128 feet long) on an intensive headway with flexible interior executed with a state-of-the-art design.

If you add the very high demands on operation, environmental and safety issues, it becomes evident why Copenhagen has become the centre of international interest, when it comes to Metro systems.

The Copenhagen Metro is a driverless system that is operated and maintained around the clock and complies with very high demands on design, safety, service availability, passenger service and reduced environmental impact.

The railway system, including all sub-systems, that has been chosen for the Copenhagen Metro shows a fine balance of two main requirements.

It is a technologically advanced and well-integrated system in order to meet the demands of being driverless, safe, future-proof and to be able to operate around the clock.

Nevertheless, most of the chosen solutions are based on well-known technology and on experience from all over the world in order to ensure performance stability.

Metro stations

The fundamental philosophy of the design has been to establish effortlessly operating Metro stations that give passengers ideal conditions when accessing from street level to platforms.

Since the Metro has a long life expectancy, the design of the Metro is made to blend in with and enhance its urban surroundings – both in the existing city and the Ørestad city development project. To achieve this delicate balance, the stations – like the other parts of the Metro – are kept in classic, functional Scandinavian design.

The implementation of a new system in the middle of a larger city takes a lot of effort. The planning, construction, integration and testing have been strictly and mutually controlled according to the contract with the Danish authorities. Approximately 800 contractual milestones and dedicated, international teamwork led to the Metro opening as planned and made sure that from the very first day it became an integral and much favoured part of Danish public transport.

Metro architecture

Underground stations are practical, with good access from the street and from other transport links. Moreover, it has a timeless design that blends in naturally with the street and clearly signals the Metro station.

The Metro has 22 stations, nine of which are tunnel stations. Twelve kilometres of the line runs on embankment or elevated railway, while 11km are underground.

Operators

The Copenhagen Metro is built by AnsaldoSTS and is operated in a joint venture between AnsaldoSTS and ATM (Azienda Trasporti Milanese), which operates the public transport in Milan.

Passenger satisfaction levels rise

The passenger satisfaction level recorded in 2007 was 95% – a relatively impressive score. However, in 2008 this figure rose to 97%, demonstrating the effectiveness of the improvement works.

The service availability record could also be measured in terms of customer satisfaction, where no less than 95% were satisfied with the timetable reliability compared to 90% in 2007.

An impressive 91% were pleased with personnel service and 96% felt safe when travelling with the Metro, while only 2% answered that they did not feel safe.

In 2008, the Copenhagen Metro won the ‘Worlds Best Metro’ award and continuing its success, won the ‘Worlds Best Driverless Metro’ award in 2009.

Safety and service

The Metro trains are driverless, but there is staff on board the vehicles to assist customers if needed. The Metro Stewards are also present on the stations to assist further. The Metro Stewards help to provide a safe and secure environment and their job is to assist, guide, provide information and inspect tickets. For example, a wheelchair user may request assistance when boarding the train or ask the Steward to hold the train longer than usual so they can alight safely.

Call Points

In each Metro train, call points are located next to the doors. By pressing these call points, passengers can get in touch directly with the Metro Control Room staff. The stations have call points installed too.

The call points are to be used in an emergency situation or if you need help and have to get in contact with the Control Room. For help and information, the INFO (green button) should be pressed, and in case of emergencies, the ALARM (red button) should be pressed.

Video Monitoring

The Metro is video monitored to ensure the safety of the passengers.

Disabled travellers

The Metro is designed to be used by everyone. Our guiding philosophy is that persons with disabilities shall be able to use the Metro with as little assistance as possible.

Visually impaired and blind persons

At the station, visually impaired and blind person customers can use elevators from the street level to the platform. There are platform doors at tunnel stations and a uniform floor surfacing with ‘guideways’ to help passengers find their way. Delays are announced on the loudspeaker system and the passengers are able to use the emergency call points at stations if needed. There is CCTV surveillance at stations for added security.

On the train, visually impaired and blind customers can benefit from flush-floor train boarding and there is an increasing tone alarmed before the doors are about to close. There are appropriate handrail placements to assist passengers and also shielded sitting areas. Stewards on board the trains can help visually impaired and blind customers and there is a clever anti-trapping device on the door edges. There is sufficient space on the trains for guide dogs.

Deaf and hearing-impaired persons

At the station, there is a totem pole display at the entrance to help deaf and hearing-impaired persons find their way. There is static information at the concourse level and information displays on platforms. Telecoil systems at call points and light signals indicate doors closing.

On the train, deaf and hearing-impaired persons can benefit from the information signs and telecoil systems at call points.

Wheelchair users

There are wheelchair bays on the station forecourts and elevators from street level to platform level. The Ticket dispenser and validation machines are installed at a maximum height of 1,200mm and the information displays are in an ‘elevated’ position.

On the train, wheelchair users can benefit from flush-floor train boarding, flex areas, folding seats, call points at a maximum height of 1,200mm, anti-trapping device on door edges, Stewards on board and appropriate handrail placements.

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