Prague to trial platform-edge doors to enhance metro safety

The sliding glass doors prevent people from entering the tracks at the station when there is no train. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 08.06.2023 11:59:00 (updated on 08.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Riding the Prague metro may become safer in the future. The Prague Public Transit Company (DPP) will test platform edge doors at metro Zličín on the B line during the summer. The sliding glass doors prevent people from falling onto the train track when there is no train in the station.

When a train arrives at a station, the train doors and the sliding glass doors should line up, and both sets of doors should open at the same time. For the test at Zličín, the doors will only be installed covering the first two train carriages in the direction of Černý Most. Access to the first two cars will be blocked, so testing will take place without passengers in the first two cars when leaving the station.

Platform edge doors in Minsk. Photo: Wikimedia commons, CC BY 3.0.
Platform edge doors in Minsk. Photo: Wikimedia commons, CC BY 3.0.

DPP wants to obtain data from testing before further implementation in the Prague metro network. Other cities such as London, Minsk, Buenos Aires, Sydney, and Toronto use these doors, but Prague wants to obtain its own practical experience before widely adopting them.

This type of system has long been planned for the metro D line, which is currently under construction. That line will use driverless trains and have glass walls and platform edge doors at all stations.

But there is still a while to wait, as the metro D line, which was at one time supposed to open in 2022, is behind schedule. "If everything goes as it should, the first passengers will ride in autonomous cars without drivers at the end of 2029," Prague Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said in a press release at the end of April.

DPP board chairman Petr Witowski confirmed that the testing would start in Zličín in the summer. "One of the main reasons is the fact that the terminal is in close proximity to the depot," he said, according to transportation news site The company AŽD Praha recently showed the type of doors that will be tested at the Rail Business Days trade fair in Ostrava.

Mock up of the platform edge doors that will be at Černý Most.. Photo: Facebook, AŽD Praha
Mock up of the platform edge doors that will be installed at Černý Most.. Photo: Facebook, AŽD Praha

In addition to keeping people from accidentally falling, intentionally jumping, or being pushed onto the tracks, it also prevents people from entering the tunnels, where they not only paint graffiti but also put themselves at risk of injury.

The doors also reduce the high winds that occur when trains enter or leave stations. In some cases, the winds are strong enough to knock people down or blow their hats onto the tracks. They also improve air quality in the stations by keeping out air from the tracks.  

While incidents of people falling onto tracks are rare, they do happen. Earlier this week, a blind woman and her guide dog fell onto the tracks at the metro Nové Butovice on the B line. Service between Zličín and Smíchovské nádraží was interrupted for about an hour. An incident of a man being pushed onto tracks made international headlines in 2015.

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