Train: the characteristics
The vehicle of the Brescia underground is driverless: its movement along the line and its control take place automatically and without the need for a driver on board. The traction unit (as the train is called in a technical jargon) Metrobus Brescia, vehicle for the metropolitan transport in its own track, is of the bidirectional type. It thus moves in both travelling directions with identical performance.
The unit consists of three individual elements (boxes) permanently connected by special joints, six doors per each side and is equipped with four carriages, three motorised and a pulling one. Driving is fully automatic, with no need for staff on board; therefore, the vehicle has no driving cab. Two large windscreens are placed at both ends of the train set, where two manoeuvre control panels are located, protected by a suitable locked cover for manual driving, to be used in case of faults or emergency.
The train weighs over 56 tons, reaches a maximum length of 39 meters and a height of 3 meters and a half. It is 2.65 meters wide and consists of 72 seats plus 2 locations for wheelchairs. The standing places are 351. It reaches a maximum speed of 80 km/h, while the highest speed allowed in manual mode is 15 km/h. The greatest allowed gradeability is 6%. The exceptional load used for the calculation of performance and the maximum weight per axle and for the dimensioning of carriages and body is over 88 tonnes (weight reached with all the seats taken and six passengers per sq. m).
The vehicle is powered by 750-volt direct current through a third rail system with bottom socket. It is here that the power collectors fixed to the sides of all four carriages run. The equipment for traction, braking and auxiliary are placed in the underbody of the vehicle, to improve the weight distribution and to facilitate maintenance. Only the air conditioning units, inductors and braking rheostats are placed on the roof, to ensure their adequate ventilation.
The information system allows the transmission of text and audio messages to passengers. This is to support communications in terms of service or emergency. The various capabilities are implemented through a set of devices. Those defined as interconnection guarantee bidirectional audio communication between the operator of the central station and the passengers; this means that passengers also can call the PCO (Central Operational Place) operators and speak with them. A PCO operator can also carry out the environment listening of an area on a train.
A PCO operator can broadcast live or pre-recorded messages to the passengers of one or more trains. Pre-recorded audio messages can also be activated by the ATC (automatic train control) or, directly, by an operator on the train. Two-way audio communications can occur, in emergency situations, between PCO operator and a possible operator on the train, or between two operators on the train positioned on two connected trains.
A video surveillance system is active on the train (which is responsible for sending "live" images to the PCO operator) equipped with a recorder system capable of ensuring the video recording of the inside of the vehicle. The trainsets are designed to be able to ensure the display on indication panels, of live messages sent by a PCO operator or pre-recorded and activated by the ATC on the train. The communication is also active between the train automatic driving systems and the PCO, as well as active is the data collection of diagnostics of onboard equipment.
Each carriage end is equipped with an area suitable for the transport of passengers with disabilities who use a wheelchair and is located on the side of the vehicle, in a longitudinal position, since it allows a more secure anchorage and better manoeuvring. The passenger can make a complete rotation so as to approach his/her shoulders to the back support structure of the wheelchair. The area is integrated with vertical handrails and a seat belt. The area is identified by suitable plates that also illustrate the fixing methods of the wheelchair.
Anyone who may find themselves in difficulties can communicate with the control station, in case being alone and in need. The train is equipped with a button that allows to immediately communicate with the operator of the operating centre.
The creative journey undertaken in the design process of the Brescia train has been as close as possible to that adopted for the creation of the lines and the shapes of the Copenhagen train. The study made by Giugiaro Design, one of the most prestigious international brands for industrial design, can still be considered extremely modern and can be defined elegant and "neat" in the lines and in the model. For this reason it was used and adapted to the new structure being the outside practically the same.