The VAL System
VAL (Veicolo Automatico Leggero – Lightweight Automatic Vehicle) Technology allows to manage and control the underground in a fully automatic way, guaranteeing high safety, performance and comfort standards.
The Turin metro system is the first in Italy to use the VAL technology. This technology relies on an Automatic Train Control (ATC) system, a system for automatic train piloting that guarantees maximum safety.
In addition to its reputation for reliability and safety, the VAL technology was chosen because it is particularly suitable for the characteristics and requirements of the Turin Underground. The transport capacity of the system currently reaches a maximum of 15,000 passengers/hour in one direction, and the trains pass with a frequency of 205 seconds. These parameters can be further improved in the peak hours thanks to the extension of the line until Bengasi station (23.000 passengers per hour and only 69 seconds long intervals).
Moreover, the limited dimensions of the trains (just 2.08m wide) facilitate the integration of the facility in Turin’s urban environment, and the flexibility of the system and its low operating costs constitute an added value.
The VAL technology and Automatic Train Control (ATC) system boasts some of the most advanced safety features in the sector.
The Control and Command station, situated in the Technical Facility of Collegno, supervises the system through remote controls and telemetry. From there, station operators are able to intervene to modify the system status, the number of trains on the line, and the operating parameters. In addition, they have a video surveillance, intercom and public address system through which they can keep passengers informed of any issues.
The multiplicity of the equipment available in the system provides excellent capacity to manage breakdowns, while the ATP (Automatic Train Protection) system prevents collisions and lowers the risk of excessive speed.
The system has also a series of other safety features such as: automatic platform doors to prevent accidental falls; emergency walkways easily accessible to train users along the entire line; smoke detectors and fire prevention devices on trains and in the stations.
The Features of the Trains
VAL 208 trains are 52 m long and they are composed of 2 bidirectional vehicles. They can reach a maximum speed of 80 km/h and transport from 280 to 440 passengers.
The convoys are equipped with rubber tires which slide along steel guides. This solution ensures greater adherence and safety in case of emergency braking, and it allows the trains to overcome steeper slopes than the undergrounds made with iron wheels. Acceleration and deceleration are steady and controlled, in order to reduce possible backlashes. Moreover, the use of pneumatics guarantees a considerable reduction of vibrations, improving passengers’ comfort.
The interior are maded by the famous Italian company Pininfarina Extra Design, as well as the mascot “Orsetto Metro Torino”, present on the informative stickers that indicate the places dedicated to children and the closing of the doors.