The Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) is carrying out tests for rail safety systems. The company aims to increase safety at railway crossings by introducing obstacle detection systems, sequential closing barriers and intelligent camera systems.
“Since this February, we have been testing a laser detector of obstacles at Studénka railway crossing and since June at two more crossings in Olomouc and Pardubice“, said Mr. Pavel Surý, Director General of SŽDC. “Results are currently under gradual evaluation in cooperation with the supplier. The first test results demonstrate that the detectors’ operation is reliable. For ensuring the tests’ completeness, testing must continue during winter as well in order to verify operation in harder climatic conditions“, he added.
SŽDC will also test this year a 3D infrared-based camera and an obstacle detector using a microwave sensor which operates on the radar principle. Testing operation of detectors will take one year at minimum due to the necessity of verifying their reliability and their resistance against optics’ contamination in various climatic conditions, especially under heavy rain, snowfall, frost or fog. Together with activating and testing detectors of obstacles, suitable technical solutions are being looked for to stop a train in case when an obstacle at a railway crossing is detected.
During installation work for obstacle detection at a railway crossing in Pardubice, the sequential closing of barriers was activated here as well. Its functionality and reactions of road operation participants is under evaluation. A possible addition of sequential closing barriers is being considered in localities where it may be suitable due to the configuration of the current crossing equipment.
Besides laser detectors, intelligent camera systems are also being tested in order to record automatically any prohibited entry of a road vehicle onto a railway crossing in a phase of warning. In addition to scanning, these systems are able to generate automatically outputs usable for offence or criminal prosecution of reckless drivers. Such a system is being tested at three railway crossings at railway stations Úvaly, Uhersko and Polanka nad Odrou.
SŽDC plans to install barriers at approximately 60 railway crossings. Currently the project preparation is finished and implementation is expected in 2017.
Within increasing safety on the railway, 100 railway crossings on transit corridors were selected for which analysis envisaged a possibility of closing, road traffic restriction or reconstruction to a grade-separated junction. Based on the study results, preparation for 24 priority constructions started with the objective to increase the level of safety at railway crossings. Total costs of these adaptations are estimated to CZK 1.872 billion. Each construction must be approved by the Central Committee of the Ministry of Transport.