Ricardo Certification has issued an Independent Safety Assessment (ISA) statement to enable the start of commercial services on a new metro connection between Rotterdam and Hoek van Holland.
The award follows five years of audits and assessments on a project that involved the conversion of 24kms of conventional rail line to metro operation.
The Hoekse lijn used to be part of the national rail network and was operated by NS until 2017 when services were closed for the conversion to begin.
These works included the refurbishment of the entire track as well as modernised stations with platforms modified to meet the height of the metro rolling stock. A new station was also added.
As the line will continue to connect regional industry to the mainline network, the metro infrastructure also has to facilitate occasional freight services. This required further adjustments along the route for freight vehicles with envelopes that do not align with platforms designed for step-free passenger access to the metro - a situation resolved by assigning separate rails to metro and freight trains along the platforms (see image, below).
Other issues that had to be accounted for included the integration of level crossings and two moveable bridges. Both elements are new to the Rotterdam metro network and - because they were not previously accommodated by the existing signalling system - meant new and updated parts of the generic safety cases were required for the interlocking, train detection and ATP system.
The ISA award was issued on September 25th and commercial services commenced on September 30th, bringing an end to the bus replacement services that had operated for two years from the busy ferry terminal at Hoek van Holland.