The automated Brescia System
The underground is fully automated and is completely safe thanks to a sophisticated control system consisting of electronic equipment distributed along the line, in stations, on trains and at the Posto Centrale Operativo (PCO - Central Operational Place) of S. Eufemia/Buffalora where deposit, workshop and offices are located. Within the PCO, which represents the real "core" of the system, are the main computers and the various control and telecommunication equipment which manage the line. For the supervision of the system, the PCO comprises a main control room (an emergency room is also provided for in case of unavailability of the main one) where simultaneously work up to four operators (during peak hours). By employing the equipment and terminals of the PCO, the operators can have the continuous and complete control of the system condition as a whole.
Furthermore, being the PCO operators and the staff working along the line always in contact, this allows to quickly make any type of intervention, both on the plants, in order to maintain the perfect functionality, and to provide the assistance necessary to passengers. Being the system designed to operate fully automatically, i.e. without driver or other permanent staff on the trains, the plants have remarkable reliability and availability characteristics regarding safety and continuity of operation. The status of the equipment on the trains and of the equipment on the ground is detected remotely and constantly with the "real time" verification of the efficiency of all basic features.
The automated and centralized management of the running of trains, not being influenced by the actual availability of driving personnel (the PCO staff is sufficient as they are always present 24/7), allows to obtain significant benefits compared to manual or semiautomatic drive traditional underground systems (with assistant on board that provides to the closing of the doors of the train and the departure of the same).
The frequency of passages, the number of trains running, speed and halt times at the stations may be automatically varied, at any time, to meet the changes in the demand for transport, also not predictable. The flexibility concerns of course also the daily duration of the service that can be fully modulated in relation to special needs (holidays, events, etc.). The automation system also allows a smooth and rational transition between one running schedule and another (e.g., from the peak time service to that of the less busy hours). Also, in the event of a disturbance to the service which would cause delays in a sector of the line, the system is capable of repositioning the trains as evenly as possible to maintain an acceptable frequency until the end of the disturbance.
The integrated automation of the running of trains allows to provide a good quality service even in the less busy hours, in the evening hours and on weekends and holidays, with interesting waiting times for the users and with low costs (substantially only for the power sources). Waiting times of 4-6 minutes during non-busy hours and of 7-10 minutes in the evening hours and on weekends and holidays are forecast for the underground. During peak hours, the traditional "scheduled" service is in fact replaced by a revolutionary "frequency" service. Train frequencies with intervals of up to 90 seconds will be achieved with the underground.