This article deals with the public address systems of train stations, metro and other railway networks.
By reading it, you will discover the particularities of public address and voice evacuation solutions intended for use on the rail network and their differences from the public address of other infrastructures.
Railway systems, such as metro, long-distance train or other rail networks, are becoming increasingly important in solving transport problems resulting from the increase in population in countries, cities or municipalities, as they offer an adequate mobility solution to residents.
These infrastructures are used on a daily basis by a large number of people, therefore, it is necessary to have an effective tool to be able to inform as well as to mobilize people in case of emergency.
To this end, public address and voice alarm systems are used that allow fast and controlled communication to large groups of people.
However, both the sound systems and their possible designs have evolved to adapt to current requirements and offer solutions that offer a better result in functional, practical and economic terms.
So what are the key elements that need to be taken into account today for a public address and evacuation system in train or metro networks?
Sonorization by zone
Did you ever feel that in one area the message is very loud and in others it is very low?
This can be avoided with a good design and by using systems with zones based on independent amplification channels, which allows a more adequate adjustment of the volume or even the equalization.
Using independent channels or amplifiers per zone allows several simultaneous messages to be sent to different zones.
It also helps to have a system that allows an Automatic Volume Control or AVC as we will see later.
IP Public Address System
In a railway infrastructure, it is essential to have an audio system connected to the network, with protocols that efficiently digitize the audio to be sent through it.
The IP audio can be sent over long distances and thanks to current protocols such as DANTE, we can achieve a high quality audio in layer 3. It is also possible to use other protocols such as SIP IP audio.
An IP public address system is essential as it also allows audio to be sent from an operation control center to any station or even to any zone or set of zones of the railway system.
Certified evacuation system
Nowadays, a public address and voice evacuation system must be certified under the fire regulations EN54. Specifically, the parts EN 54-16 for the voice alarm system and EN 54-24 for the loudspeakers.
In addition, according to the RIPCI norm in Spain, electroacoustic evacuation systems should follow the recommendations of the standard EN 60849.
Have you ever been to a station where you don’t understand what the loudspeaker says?
A well-designed public address system for train stations should ensure adequate levels of intelligibility so that messages are understood crystal clear.
This is even more important when it comes to evacuation or emergency messages on which people’s lives depend.
Simulations and acoustic studies
Performing acoustic simulations helps to create a sound map of the most appropriate solution and to know the sound pressure levels (volume) or intelligibility that can be achieved.
To do this, the building plan is modelled in 3D and a specific software such as EASE is used for the simulation.
An acoustic study conducted by public address professionals, such as Sonotrack, concludes with a detailed report of the results and recommendations for the public address system your project requires.
Integration with SCADA and PIS
In this type of infrastructure it is common that there is a central control system or SCADA.
Therefore, the public address systems of train or metro stations must be prepared to be integrated into the SCADA and thus allow the supervision and control of the whole system in a simple way.
In many cases, current systems can also be integrated with a PIS or Passenger Information Systems, in order to reproduce the messages on the corresponding platform or platforms according to the arrival of trains.
Automatic Volume Control
The most advanced public address systems allow the connection of noise sensing microphones, which detect the ambient noise so that the system performs an automatic volume adjustment at any time.
In this way, the system provides a higher volume if there are many people and a lower volume if there are fewer. This avoids an inadequate sound level or that the the operator had to do the change manually.
In this article we have detailed seven key aspects that you should know about the public address systems of train stations, metro or other facilities of the railway network.
Remember that this type of infrastructure requires the following:
- A public address system that allows independent zones.
- An IP public address system.
- A public address and voice alarm system with EN54 and EN60849.
- A public address and evacuation system that facilitates adequate intelligibility.
- The performance of acoustic studies and simulations.
- Integration with SCADA and PIS.
- A public address system that allows automatic volume control.
For all these reasons, when entrusting public address and voice alarm projects on railway networks, it is recommended to rely on the help of professionals with experience in this type of projects.
At Sonotrack, we are specialists in the design, supply and commissioning of railway public address systems, and have participated in the following relevant projects:
- 100 stations of RENFE for the Madrid belt.
- Renewal of 306 RENFE stations: 106 stations in Catalonia and 200 stations in Rest of Spain. Project for which we have received the Bosch Award to the most emblematic project of the year.
- Metro Quito formed by 15 metro stations plus garages.
- Mexico City Line 3 with 19 metro stations.
- Tram from Algeria, with 52 train stations.
- Tram in Belgium, with 27 stops.
We hope this article has been of interest to you.
Would you like to have the best public address and evacuation solution for your project?