The testing of more than 50 different technical systems in case of emergencies, such as power outages and fires, has begun at the Kaitaa metro station. The metro service is expected to start up between Matinkylä and Kivenlahti during 2023. Approved station-specific simultaneous test runs and testing of all of the systems is necessary before passenger traffic can begin.
The various technical systems, many of which are located on several floors at the ends of the metro platform and in the metro tunnel’s facilities, are a part of modern metro infrastructure that is invisible to passengers. The systems are largely related to passenger safety in emergencies. While every single device and component has been subjected to point testing and the systems have undergone test runs, only the simultaneous operation of all of the systems in different emergencies is proof that the station is ready for the metro service to start up.
The first emergency test will be carried out at the Kaitaa metro station halfway through October. First up is the testing of the systems’ operation during a short and long loss of power supply. In connection with the power outage test, also the systems’ operation during flooding will be tested. Towards the end of October, fire testing will take place at different points in the metro tunnel and station. All-in-all, the station testing will take around 4–5 weeks.
Blackout tests ensure the operation of critical equipment
Power outage tests ensure that the station’s electrical systems operate in different types of power outages of varying lengths. The power supply to equipment that is critical for the operation of the station is ensured through automated feed exchanges and double feeds, a standby generator or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) devices. If the power supply is lost, the functioning of these devices is tested using blackout tests, simulating faults in the transformers supplying the station and checking the feed exchanges’, standby generator’s and UPS devices’ correct operation, and testing the operation of related devices during a power outage.
Systems start up automatically in a fire test
In a metro tunnel fire testing situation, a fire alarm detects an increase in heat in the tunnel, after which the systems operate automatically. The station’s and connecting tunnels’ over-pressurising systems are activated, the evacuation announcements start and the lighting, locking, info screen, elevator and escalator controls operate automatically as required by the emergency.
The first step in the fire tests is to ensure that the station is in its normal operating mode, i.e. all of the devices have been set to their normal metro service mode. The fire alarm will be activated from a predetermined mode, using a fire alarm or call point. The fire alarm is relayed to the automated systems, the metro control room and, in an actual situation, to the emergency services. Based on the location of the fire, the automated systems turn on automatically-activating smoke compartments and escape route over-pressurisations, turn off the ventilation, control the station’s lighting, open the locking of escape routes, close fire doors in public spaces, turn on the correct evacuation announcements (depending on the fire’s location) with which metro passengers are directed out along a safe route, relay the evacuation messages to the passenger info screens, control the camera surveillance system, turn on the elevators’ evacuation drive mode and stop the downward escalators.
Testing proceeding station by station
The joint testing of the systems will take place one station at a time. The testing involves not only the metro station, but also the operation of the systems on the rail area adjacent to the station.
“The operation of the systems is monitored during testing both onsite and in HKL’s control room in Herttoniemi, Helsinki. Different scenarios focus on testing different systems. If a specific area is not functioning as planned, the test will be repeated until the systems operate exactly as they were designed to do,” explains Commissioning Engineer Janne Ilkanheimo from the West Metro project.
In addition to the five new metro stations (Finnoo, Kaitaa, Soukka, Espoonlahti and Kivenlahti), also the operation of the Sammalvuori depot will be tested. The interface between the Matinkylä metro station and the new section was successfully tested in August.
The testing phase will be followed by approvals from authorities, the preparations for starting up the service made by HKL (Helsinki City Transport), which operates the trains, and the preparatory measures by HSL (Helsinki Region Transport) on the part of feeder traffic, for example. The metro service is expected to start up between Matinkylä and Kivenlahti during 2023.
Janne Ilkanheimo, Commissioning Engineer, West Metro project, janne.ilkanheimo(at)lansimetro.fi
Communication enquiries, Satu Linkola, Communications Director, Länsimetro Oy, satu.linkola(at)lansimetro.fi