Fima’s Engineering Solutions Make Kaunas Tunnel Safer

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Reopened after reconstruction, the Kaunas tunnel is greeting trains not only with its new looks – the historical structure has been outfitted with state-of-the-art engineering technologies which will help the railway staff manage potential emergencies. The engineering systems that meet top safety requirements and are just right for the tunnel were selected and installed by the company Fima.

“We can well say that unique historical heritage has stepped into the 21st century, the age of technology. In the tunnel, we installed the most advanced engineering solutions that are currently used in railway infrastructure – they issue prompt warnings of possible hazards inside the tunnel and also help neutralising the consequences of such hazards,” says Artūras Šuliauskas, the Director of Fima’s Project Implementation Department.

In his words, while the project was still in its design stage they were already looking for the best solution, poring over similar engineering systems installed in tunnels abroad and consulting the experts. In the process of installation, one has to consider that the systems may be affected by the environment – the tunnel is a special structure, it is damp inside, there is smoke coming out of passing diesel engines, which also causes vibration. Therefore, the company’s specialists chose the solutions that would provide technological protection against negative environmental impacts.

Of all the integrated solutions that Fima installed on the tunnel, the powerful fire extinguishing system is probably the most complex. Once it is triggered, the pipes built underneath the tunnel are immediately filled with 35 cubic metres of water which is then sprayed via special sprinklers that line the tunnel. It is complemented by an efficient hazard monitoring system, which uses a temperature cable, pinpointing the precise spot of the fire, rather than conventional smoke sensors to identify fire – that is quite a rare solution in Lithuania.

The specialists upgraded the tunnel’s outdated traffic control system, which has been imbued with extra safety features, such as sound and light signals to warn personnel working inside the tunnel of an approaching train. This railway strip has been equipped with emergency phone sets and radio communication facilities.

Fima also built two clearance gates at the Palemonas station before the tunnel. The sensors on the gates identify any deviations of the clearance of a train from the requirements and stop the train with a red light signal, if necessary.

The tunnel has also been equipped with special technology that guarantees reliability and monitoring of ground waters that could disrupt the foundation of the structure.