In recent years, Pandrol has supplied a range of solutions to support the growth and development of Bangkok MRT. Here we take a look at the impact of collaborative working and innovation in design, manufacture and technical support across the rapid transit system…

Back in 1992, the Thai Government realised that the growing population of the Bangkok region needed new rapid transit systems to move quickly and easily around the area and a state enterprise for the creation of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) was set up. Today the MRTA oversees the operation of the:

Bangkok Mass Transit System, an elevated rapid transit system commonly known as the BTS or the Skytrain

The Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT), began operation in 2004 and is made up of three heavy haul rail lines and two monorail lines. This serves more than 420,000 passengers every day in the Bangkok Metropolitan region.

Pandrol’s projects for the MRTA are a great example of collaborative working and innovation, both within the company and with the customer, to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Fine lines

MRT’s Purple Line and Green Line South were completed in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The Purple Line is 23 kilometres long, running from Tao Poon to Khlong Bang Phai; the Green Line South is 12.6 kilometres long, running from Bearing to Samutprakarn.

For both lines, Pandrol:

• delivered the Double Resilient System (DRS) fastening system

• supplied rail seats – 184,000 for the Purple Line and 97,000 for the Green Line South

• supplied aluminothermic welding and the Pandrol QTrack® embedded rail system for the depot areas

• designed and supplied a complete composite conductor rail system for the lines’ electrification.

Pandrol’s work has now been extended to the upcoming Green Line North project, which is due for completion this year and will carry axle loads of up to 17.5 tonnes. Pandrol will supply 140,000 more rail seats and develop the electrification system for the new line.

Pandrol’s DRS System was recently specified for the northern extension of the Green Line elevated railway. This is operated by Bangkok Skytrain system and involves approximately 19 kilometres of track in a densely populated area near to Bangkok. Pandrol DRS has also been specified for the Orange Line East, for which construction has not yet started.

Why DRS fastening?

Pandrol has been supplying resilient fastening systems for non-ballasted tracks for more than 40 years, from the early Shinkansen tracks in Japan to the more recent South Korean and Chinese high-speed systems.

‘Our DRS assembly was the ideal solution for Mass Rapid Transit Authority because of its high performance and vibration reduction properties’ explains Louis Vandamme, General Sales Manager (Asia-Pacific). ‘DRS has benefits for the contractor, in terms of ease and speed of installation, as well as for the track operator, due to its durability and long-term performance. It is widely used in major developing cities such as Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Dubai.’

The Pandrol DRS system features a Pandrol e-Clip baseplate, mounted on a studded natural rubber pad that provides resilience. This can be tuned, within limits, to suit specific axle loads and stiffness requirements. The system is suitable for all rail inclinations and rail types and is optimised for top-down methods of construction, or bottom-up methods with alternative anchorage. DRS reduces the transmission of low frequency noise and vibration due to its low stiffness.     >>

Pandrol’s DRS provides the advantages of an indirect rail fastening system, distributing the vertical deflections between the rail pad/clips and the baseplate pad/compression springs and separating the functions of the anchorage and rail fastening.

To cater for the interaction between the rail and the track structure, low toe load and/or zero longitudinal restraint (ZLR) fastening options are available. The coil springs and baseplate pad absorb most of the vertical deflections and also play a part in countering the effects of end rotation where simply supported beams form part of the viaduct structure. Vertical and lateral adjustment is provided for construction/maintenance requirements. Vertical adjustment typically up to 20mm and lateral adjustment through lockable eccentric bushes (± 3mm per rail and ± 2mm by differential side post insulators) total ± 5mm per rail.

Innovative installation

As Dean Whitmore, Market Manager for Pandrol Singapore, explains: ‘These fastening systems were specified as they offer durability and reliability for the project owner and a quicker and more efficient construction method for the contractor.’

Pandrol’s DRS system is popular with contractors as it enables quick and simple installation. The system is installed on cast in-situ concrete plinths and the assembled baseplates are hung from the rail. For Green Line North, Pandrol introduced a new construction method that allowed the contractor to concrete up to the baseplate in one operation, dramatically improving construction productivity by reducing installation time.

Special construction bolt-holders supplied to the contractor by Pandrol allow the anchor bolts to be installed very accurately and allow for very rapid preparation and construction time.

The Pandrol DRS assembly is well suited to high speed applications installed on pre-cast blocks, sleepers or slab. Pandrol has provided both technical product support and training for contractors on the installation of the DRS system.

Electrification expertise

Pandrol also built on its experience and track expertise to provide full support for the development of an electrification package to suit the specific Bangkok MRT track infrastructure.

‘A third rail conductor solution using unique co-extrusion technology was chosen as this offers longevity and high performance for MRTA’, explains Fréderic Petrus, Pandrol’s Electrification Manager. ‘As the project has challenging environmental conditions and is large in scale, Pandrol’s co-extruded technology was selected for its safety characteristics and reliability.’

The use of third rail has a number of benefits, including:

• greater expected lifespan than an overhead contact wire due to its rigidity

• eradication of the impact of electromagnetic interference on electrical components

• reduced maintenance costs because power supply equipment is virtually maintenance-free, with only regular inspections and cleaning required

• high reliability and safety – with Pandrol’s third rail, there is no need to control the thickness of the stainless steel.

All Pandrol’s products are designed specifically for the railways and its technical engineers have extensive experience in third rail. For this project, Pandrol designed, manufactured and supplied the third rail, providing a detailed layout for approval by the customer. The experience within the Pandrol team means that all track interfaces are considered and managed with cohesion and expertise. In addition, Pandrol provided theoretical, classroom-based training for contractors, as well as practical training on site.

A complete solution

This project exemplifies the advantage of working with Pandrol, where different divisions within the business work together seamlessly and efficiently to deliver the very best solution to the customer. This collaborative, cohesive approach, coupled with the company’s commitment to innovation in design, manufacture and technical support, ensure that every project is implemented to the highest standard.

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