Technical article ETR: Smart rail maintenance in the Barelona metro

The ideal summer reading: The technical article published by the renowned railway magazine ETR and produced by experts on the subject of milling technology from voestalpine Track Solutions Germany GmbH and from our measurement technology team. The new and unique concept involves network-wide recording of the rail condition with the aid of state-of-the-art sensor technology. Subsequently, targeted rail milling work is carried out on tracks and switches. The project was awarded the Austrian State Prize for Engineering Consulting in the spring.

Get the full article (in German language):

Metro Barcelona: Mobile rail milling and monitoring project successfully completed by voestalpine and PJM

The unique service portfolio „efficient rail maintenance in three steps” was presented by voestalpine Railway Systems and PJM only last summer. Recently, the first project was successfully completed. Measuring sensors were installed on an existing vehicle of Metro Barcelona, hence the rail measuring was performed automatically. Within a short time, numerous parameters were determined continuously on all metro lines, such as e.g. the quality of the transverse and longitudinal rail profile, the track gauge, and the vertical rail wear. The generated data was digitized and visualized in the form of a network condition report.

Targeted rail maintenance actions were planned, based on the rail measurement results. Subsequently, rails of over 50km of track, including for the first time turnouts, were efficiently milled by voestalpine Track Solutions Germany using its high-performance rail milling technology. After this process, the rails in track and turnouts were restored to an almost as-new condition. The focus lied on eliminating so-called corrugation on the rail running surface. As a result, unwanted noise emissions during subway operation were significantly reduced and travel comfort for passengers was increased. After completing the milling works, a second measurement campaign was carried out in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of rail milling as well as to provide objective evidence of the improved condition.

What are the benefits for the operator of Metro Barcelona? Objective condition data enables efficient and targeted action planning for rail maintenance. In combination with mobile rail milling, identified rail damage can immediately and sustainably be maintained and restored. This reduces unwanted noise emissions, increases travel comfort, and extends the rail service life.







2021-12-09 13_20_50-Mobile Rail Milling & Monitoring at Metro Barcelona@voestalpine_kleinPJM_objective_data_klein@Manuel_Hanschitz

Martin Joch, CEO of PJM, summarizes: “The use of smart measurement technology and the integrated approach to determine rail condition in combination with maintenance measures, enables the operator to significantly increase efficiency in the operation of the infrastructure. Simultaneously, the risk of unplanned maintenance work at short notice is drastically reduced.”

Johannes Wundersamer, Vice President Sales of voestalpine Track Solutions Germany, a subsidiary of voestalpine Railway Systems, says: „With our milling service, operational rail damage in track and turnouts can sustainably be restored. In order to plan this maintenance measure efficiently, it is very important to have the best possible knowledge of the rail condition in advance. With our combined services, including rail measurement technology, we offer an all-round carefree package for our customers.”


Further information & project video:


Efficient rail maintenance for Metro Barcelona with voestalpine

With voestalpine Railway Solutions, we offer a unique overall concept for efficient rail maintenance for metro and suburban rail operators. In order to provide passengers in urban areas with as much public mobility as possible, the train frequencies are constantly increasing, while the engineering hours for maintenance are decreasing. This is a huge challenge for rail maintenance which is however essential to ensure safe and comfortable rail operations at optimal costs.

Together with voestalpine, we have developed a unique overall concept for efficient rail maintenance in just 3 steps, especially for local transport companies: Smart rail monitoring followed by rail maintenance using high-performance milling machines. The concept has already been successfully applied to the Barcelona Metro.

Learn more about the unique overall concept in the practical test:

Get the full project story of Metro Barcelona:

Rail maintenance: voestalpine Railway Systems and PJM cooperate

1 + 1 = unique. When 2 railway experts team up, they provide a holistic service portfolio. voestalpine Track Solutions Germany GmbH, a subsidiary of voestalpine Railway Systems, the global leader for railway infrastructure system solutions, are pooling their respective core competencies in rail maintenance of urban transport systems  under a new service for customers. This new holistic approach makes possible for the first time the “smart” digital measurement of rails and track on entire subways and light rail systems within a very short time, followed by processing using high-performance milling technology.


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PJ Monitoring GmbH

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