Frequent at the start of the automation of a line, breakdowns like that of Thursday could be brought to reproduce.
Users of line B of the Lyon metro may not be at the end of their troubles. While the line was paralyzed last Thursday for nearly twenty-four hours, such an incident is not immune to happening again, explains this Thursday Jean-Charles Kohlhaas, vice-president of the Metropolis in charge of Travel and vice-president of Sytral Mobilités.
“I can’t tell them that there will be no more incidents, zero risk does not exist”, he declares, invited on the set of BFM Lyon.
A single automation failure
He explains, however, that the recurring incidents which denounce the users do not necessarily have a link with the automation of line B, which was generated at the end of June.
Since then, the line has suffered four outages. The only “related to automation”, last Thursday, was caused by a “fault in the autopilot system”, the cause of which, however, has not been identified.
Inevitable malfunctions with the automation of a line, explains the vice-president of Sytral Mobilités. “There are in all these hyper complex systems, electronic and computer, grains of sand, malfunctions at start-up, this was the case for the line a few years ago.”
Line B, recently automated, is still in a “bugging” phase, where incidents can occur frequently. Jean-Charles Kohlhaas explains, however, that there are “several types of incidents” that can impact a metro line, some of which have no connection with automation.
“When someone falls on the track (…) it blocks the line for 3-4 hours. There may be power outages, we are still notified of faults and load shedding on the Enedis network for this winter. So zero-incident does not exist.”
The breakdown that affected line B on Tuesday morning was due to night work carried out as part of the extension of the line. The company in charge of the works would not have put the system back in place correctly, which “disordered the signaling”.
The other two failures returned from the automation of the line were caused by short interruptions in the power supply by the Enedis network, but the devices which at that time should have allowed the metro to restore “n” were not up to scratch”, explains Jean-Charles Kohlhaas, adding that the maintenance problem “has since been resolved”.
“Quite catastrophic” management by Keolis
Accused by the unions of the TCL network of having produced a “low cost” line where breakdowns are repeated, Sytral reiterates that automation is not the cause of the majority of these malfunctions.
Jean-Charles Kohlhaas recalls that the line B automation project, launched in 2015 by the previous municipality, cost 450 million euros.
“It does not seem to me that 450 million euros is low cost. It corresponds to two new tram lines.”
Beyond the breakdown last Thursday which caused the evacuation of 1,500 passengers by the tracks, Sytral Mobilités calls into question the “quite catastrophic” management of the incident by Keolis, the operator of the TCL network.
“In the event of an incident, the Keolis network must react correctly to support users.”
The Métropole has since met with representatives of Keolis to find solutions to better direct users during breakdowns, in particular to direct them to substitute buses, or to place more agents in stations to inform users. .
“We must be able to manage an incident correctly, and have the human resources necessary so that it is not a black Thursday like last week”, estimates Jean-Charles Kohlhaas.