Information published on 26 January 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 482.

Poland: PKL launches mobile laboratories to monitor the country’s most important railway investments

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Direct investment control in the whole country as well as quality inspection of work at each stage – such possibilities of investment monitoring became obtainable for PLK thanks to the purchase of mobile laboratories. The first two specialised vehicles are just starting their operation and the next ten are going to be purchased by the infrastructure manager this year.

The mobile laboratories will strengthen the constant monitoring of quality by PLK, which also covers the control of construction materials used for investment work. The vehicles will enable us to collect and examine the samples of inter alia: ballast, ground and concrete composition directly on the spot and at any time. One mobile laboratory will be able to carry out more than 40 tests a day.

“Systematic and accurate quality control of materials used for railway infrastructure construction shows concern about safety. Obeying standards guarantees that maintenance materials will enable a safe train operation and long, trouble-free maintenance of railway line operation”, said Andrzej Pawłowski, PLK’s Vice-President.

The first two vehicles have been already commenced their operation. PLK’s objective is to launch 12 mobile laboratories, which will monitor the most important railway investments in Poland. Thanks to them the project teams as well as the teams for quality will be able to carry out control and supplementary research in order to verify the quality of materials as well as spots that raised suspicion in terms of quality during the inspection.

“Ensuring access to research carried out by the laboratories independent from the contractors is a key instrument of quality control for the construction works Acquiring the high-class railway infrastructure ensures longer and faultless operation and raises the awareness of people who are responsible for the investment fulfilment and self-discipline of the contractor”, explained Tomasz Kruk, Member of PLK’s Management Board accountable for quality and operational risk.

The PLK’s investment programme foresees almost 300 investment projects of the total value of PLN 67 billion to be carried out by 2023. This is over twice the amount that PLK has had at its disposal in the years 2007-2015. “Such an enlargement of PLK’s investment scope requires the intensification of the production which can have an impact on the quality of conducted works, materials, and construction products. The company carries out the project of the investment quality control in a way that is adjusted to line project characteristics, which assumes carrying out the work in more than a dozen locations at the same time. That is why we have implemented the innovative solution i.e. mobile laboratories, whose equipment will be adjusted to the current needs”, said Artur Odyniec, PLK’s Audit and Quality Department Director.

This solution will enable the company to develop the “quality shield” implemented by PLK’s Management Board as well as to provide the effective monitoring of railway investments which are being carried out. Besides the mobile laboratories, its pillar will also be the Central Research-Development Laboratory. The work on its establishment commenced a couple of weeks ago. The Central Laboratory will consist of five specialised units divided in terms of research type (ballast, ground, weights and diagnostics of the permanent way, concrete and railway diagnostics). There will be 25 job posts provided for the specialists who will be in charge of conducting the rigorous control of quality of the materials used during investments in PLK. The laboratory will be fully under operation in the second half of this year.

(Source: PKP PLK)