Metro operation manager for implementation of unattended train operation at Wiener Linien
Implementing UTO in Vienna’s Metro Network
Wiener Linien’s latest metro expansion project comprises the upgrade of an existing section of today’s U2 line from GoA2 to GoA4, as well as a short extension with one completely new designed station, being reopened as a new line U5. Altogether, the 2,3km long line with 5 stations in total is going to be the first fully automated metro line in Vienna. A feasibility study in 2014 investigated the advantages and challenges of UTO in metro systems, being the base for a decision pro UTO in 2015. As a guideline for planners, an operational concept for UTO was set up, defining a number of requirements for a successful and innovative driverless line, taking into account both operational flexibility and passenger experience. The key challenges of this project are the upgrade of the existing electronic interlocking and the required compatibility of rolling stock to serve both the existing GoA2-network and the new GoA4-line. The interoperability of our rolling stock is required by the given network layout with two central workshops to maintain the entire fleet. The tender for rolling stock is already running, aiming to be finished by the end of this year. Wiener Linien is currently preparing to apply for the permit by railway law to start the civil engineering.
For Wiener Linien, the current project is dedicated for gathering experience in upgrading existing lines to GoA4, as the long term strategy aims to upgrade the entire GoA2-network to UTO until 2050+, as subject to necessary reinvestment.
After two years at an Austrian automobile club, were Nikolaus Panzera did technical and purchase advice, he changed to Wiener Linien in 2007. His career started as a bus driver. It was a deliberate decision to get in touch with the basic task of public transport: moving people safely, comfortable and on time from A to B.
In 2009 he became aware of a new subject at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences and he decided to study railway infrastructure engineering. After graduation as Bachelor of Science in 2012 Panzera decided to continue his studies part-time and changed to the underground operation department of Wiener Linien. In February 2014 he became the operational manager of metro lines U1 and U4. As such, he was responsible for all operational belongings as for instance organization of metro traffic as well as evaluation of incidents. Furthermore Panzera was the disciplinarian for station and train staff on those two lines.
Beside managing lines U1 and U4 Panzera was involved in preparation and creation of a feasibility study concerning the implementation of unattended train operation in Vienna, which was created in 2014. In the late spring of 2015 Wiener Linien’s CEOs decided that Vienna’s new metro Line U5, which is planned to be opened in 2023, is going to be operated fully unattended. Since this will be the first UTO-line in both Vienna and Austria, Wiener Linien created an operational concept for a driverless metro system in 2016, whereby Panzera was one of the key businessman out of the metro operation department. As the UTO-project developed, operational belongings increased and by the beginning of 2017 he became the UTO project manager from the operational point of view.