Line 5 project demonstrated the methodology of installation of the new lightweight concrete block system in combination with the VIPA DFC fastening. Each block was placed into the empty pocket, the existing rails were lowered, and the Pandrol Fastclips were switched from the parked to the installed position using hand tools. Even with the pre-assembled VIPA DFC fastenings already fitted to them, the new blocks were light and safe enough to be handled by one person. This new low stiffness system provided an innovative solution for Barcelona Metro.
The lightweight concrete blocks were delivered to the worksite fully pre-assembled. The block is of the minimum size required to support and anchor the fastening assembly system, allowing it to be easily manipulated into position and attached to the rail prior to final adjustment and fixing. Reinforcement and anchor elements protrude from the underside of the block and are designed to tie it into concrete poured into the pocket around it to form the completed slab. The contractors carried out the fine track alignment before pouring the concrete to complete the installation.
Aided by pre-assembly off-site, the installation was simple and efficient, allowing the contractor to recover time lost on other sections of the job. Throughout the project there was ongoing collaborative working between the Pandrol New Product Development team based in the UK and the local technical and customer liaison teams based in Spain. Together, they provided a full package of technical support and assistance during the installation. Pandrol also worked closely with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia to complete the block design calculations.
As a result of the successful delivery of this project, the Pandrol New Product Development team is now working on developments that enable even quicker installation on track. This is of particular interest to Barcelona Metro. Further installations of the VIPA DFC system are planned. In particular, it will be used in the tunnel sections on the new Follobanen line in Norway.