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With radar, safe level crossings on Bari-Taranto

GCF radar eye to protect level crossings

GCF's PAI-PL system to protect vehicles and convoys

Level crossings along the Bari-Taranto line will be protected by PAI-PL (Level Crossings Automatic Supplementary Protection) technology radar devices. The intervention wanted by the operator Ferrovie del Sud Est was awarded in December to GCF - Generale Costruzioni Ferroviarie, which in recent weeks has completed the executive design.

“PAI-PL is an integrative technology - explains engineer Mattia Baraldi, director of GCF's IS, Tlc, R&D, and AT Technology Divisions - dedicated to the detection of obstacles in the area bounded by closed barriers that is based on laser or radar systems capable of detecting the presence of obstacles or obstructions on the railroad track and safely stopping rail traffic”.

GCF's proprietary Level Crossing Protection (LCP) System for radar-type PAI-PL applications is a SIL 4, absolute safety system, qualified in accordance with the RFI DTCSTSSSTB SR IS 05 001 C specification and already compliant with the latest RFI DT ST SCCS IT IS 092 268 A standards.

Its installation flexibility makes it suitable even for "difficult" situations; the radar technology ensures its effectiveness even in extreme weather conditions. Installation does not require onerous civil works.
In the protected area inside the level crossing barriers, it is able to detect vehicles and obstacles and, if necessary, to automatically act on the signalling system by sending the "Prevented Way" signal and determining the blocking of trains.

Radar pole

Immune to atmospheric events

Radar pole

Sensors Radar at 77GHz
Large field of view (FOV)

Signalling

Signal of "Prevented Way"

LCP cabinet

Signalling interface

Stuck train

Automatic train block

Reference Object

Off-grid
For radar self-calibration

Reference Object

Off-grid
For radar self-calibration

Monitored area

Monitored area: up to 370sqm
Obstacles detected: from 40 cm

Video acquisition system

IP camera
Streaming to central server
  • Radar pole

    Immune to atmospheric events
  • Radar pole

    Sensors Radar at 77GHz
    Large field of view (FOV)
  • Signalling

    Signal of "Prevented Way"
  • LCP cabinet

    Signalling interface
  • Stuck train

    Automatic train block
  • Reference Object

    Off-grid
    For radar self-calibration
  • Reference Object

    Off-grid
    For radar self-calibration
  • Monitored area

    Monitored area: up to 370sqm
    Obstacles detected: from 40 cm
  • Video acquisition system

    IP camera
    Streaming to central server

Along Line 1 Bari - Taranto, PAI-PL systems will be installed in Conversano (PL km 25+455 and PL km 27+812), Castellana Grotte (PL km 38+476), Alberobello (PL km 63+310), Locorotondo (PL km 70+826), Crispiano (PL km 91+601).

For each level crossing, the monitoring area will be marked with special yellow safety curbs, then the area will be equipped with one or two radar poles providing, where it is necessary to bring the head of the pole to 70 cm from the level of the rail, to cast special concrete support plinths. Serving each radar pole will also be installed, on a pole also, 2 Reference Objects with the purpose of allowing continuous automatic calibration of the radar system. Also, a video acquisition system, a fibre tapping cabinet and a cabinet to house the Data Collection subsystem, the heart of the PAI-PL system that will collect in real time the data sent by radar and IP camera and transmit it via cable - a dedicated Fiber - to the server hosted at the Central Post set up and configured at the Mungivacca Station, will find a place in the PL area.

“From here, it will be possible to monitor all connected Level Crossings in real time," explains Paolo Lopez, GCF's project engineer, "and, in the event that the PAI-PL system automatically triggers the "VIA impeded" signal, you will have immediate knowledge of the problem, which Level Crossing has been involved, and, thanks to the camera, you will be able to take an immediate remote view of the situation on site"

In addition to the design, installation, and testing of the 6 PAI-PL devices, the work awarded to GCF includes, finally, the simultaneous supply and laying, in underground cable ducts, of a 64-fibre backbone cable both along Line 1 Bari - Mungivacca - Putignano - Martina Franca (via Conversano), and along the so-called Line 1Bis Mungivacca - Putignano (via Casamassima).

Below: the level crossing in Locorotondo

2024.05 PAI PL GCF FerrovieSudEst 4

The benefits of GCF's PAI-PL system

There are many advantages offered by GCF's preferred radar technology for its Level Crossing Protection installations. "It is an automotive-derived technology," stresses Eng. Baraldi, "that employs the same sensors installed on self-driving cars; it guarantees total immunity with respect to optical refraction problems that, in adverse weather conditions, can disrupt the reliability of laser technologies”.

In addition to the sensors' wide FOV (Field of View) - they allow monitoring of areas up to 3 times larger than the 105 sq. m. required by RFI specifications - and the great flexibility of installation and applicability even in critical contexts, the LCP system is tested to withstand extreme weather conditions: it continues to operate with rain up to 100 mm/h (100 l/h) per sq. m., with snowfall (tested with accumulations up to 30 cm) and in the presence of fog even in the case of zero horizontal visibility.

For more details: Pai-Pl, technology in the service of security