Full speed between Madrid and Barcelona

After having completed the telecomunications of  the Madrid-Lérida section,  the railway infrastructure administrator ADIF chose Thales in 2003 to execute the project for the automatic control and supervision of the Lérida Barcelona high-speed trains, constituting the Lérida-Tarragona section, the first phase of the project. The most important aspect of the work is the development of speed for the transport of travelers in a very mountainous area, producing a before and after in the way of travel between the past and the present that has a huge saving of time between Barcelona and Madrid reducing in more than 6 hours the time of travel to less than 2 and a half hours. This means of transport has won the battle to the plane with 31 million travelers between cities in the last 10 years.

This means of transport has won the battle to the plane with 31 million travelers between both cities in the last 10 years.

For this work, Adif decided to have the UTE temporary union of companies ADIS constituted by four leader companies, being Thales responsible for the control systems and supervision of trains as well as energy systems among others.
The section that runs between the cities of Lérida and Tarragona, a route of 83 km in length with orographic features that have forced the construction of more than 9 km of viaducts and more than 8 km of tunnels. The route of this section has its origin in the Lérida station located within the urban area, remodeled to manage the new needs of rail traffic.

Without a doubt a qualitative leap for the city. To cover these 83 km, 5 technical buildings and 3 intermediate blocking positions have been installed. On our way we find the first stop Camp de Tarragona station a few kilometers from the capital. At the exit of this city, an interchange has been enabled to allow the different types of trains arriving on national gauge tracks to adapt to the European track width of the high-speed line and continue on its way to Barcelona.

In the second phase of the project, a 71 km long section was found for which 6 strategically arranged technical buildings and 2 blocking posts were installed. To this end, about 9 km of tunnels and 16 km of viaducts were built. In just over 30 minutes we arrived at the Barcelona Sans station in the heart of the city. A control center ensures precision in the movements of trains. Barcelona has become the anteroom of Europe, the point of exchange that has opened the doors to high-speed rail communication.

Thales has supplied and commissioned its technology in a series of systems that ensure the correct operation of this high-speed means of transport. A complex network of sensors, beacons, transmitters that produce and supply updated information every few seconds and that offer almost total reliability.

The train receives and sends automatic and continuous information according to the European ERTMS / ETCS train command and supervision standard with absolute precision in the transmission of data and is that at higher speed greater need for technical precision and greater innovation. This is where the presence of Thales technology is essential.

Thales is responsible for the uninterrupted supply of power throughout the entire stretch. Both for its technologies and for the other technologies supplied by the other companies, all this is done by installing in the 11 technical buildings and in the 5 blocking stations of the path of a reliable and redundant power supply system.

Switching and connection cabinets, uninterruptible power supply systems, rectifiers, transformers, stabilizers, filters, batteries and generator sets.

To ensure control of the route of the trains Thales supplies a detection system based on electronic wheel sensors to be able to pass by deviated route at a speed of 220 km / hour.

A system of electronic shaft counters designed by Thales guarantees the safe transit of all train elements through the exchanger.

The line also has detectors to drop objects onto the track. The system devised by Thales and that has been installed in overpasses and tunnels mouths ensures that any object that could interfere with the travel of the trains is immediately detected and communicated automatically to the command post.

A technology that brings us closer to the future of the railroad as an increasingly fast, safe and borderless means of transport.
From the gloom of the tunnel to the light of day and back to start, a means of transport so stealthy that only in the driving cabin the speed is perceived. A non-polluting means of transport in an ambitious project to expand the railway communications network in Spain, Thales has lent its knowledge, its great experience and its cutting-edge technique.

The Madrid high-speed line has become the fastest and longest in the last 10 years, as well as one of the most used for its comfort, good operation and speed by passengers.
Thales Group - Contadores de Ejes IMG_9119 ©THALES T.S. & S.S. Photo by L.Olivas