Access control in rail transport

Access control in rail transport

Catherine Laug, Group Head of Marketing at LOCKEN highlights the security challenges within rail transport and explains how bespoke access control solutions can help mitigate these.

What are the main concerns surrounding security and access control within rail transport?

The rail industry is vulnerable to safety and security risks, particularly railways and underground train lines. One main priority is to ward off any malicious intrusion attempts and potentially devastating consequences.

The sheer size of the infrastructure within this industry is much greater than any other, with hundreds of miles of fencing along railway lines and thousands of gates requiring high levels of protection. However, there is more to major rail transport infrastructure than miles of fencing alongside a railway track. They are also made up of electrical substations, technical installations (lifts, ventilation systems, pumps, etc) and tunnel shafts for aeration purposes. These outdoor facilities are at the mercy of our ever-changing weather conditions, be it extreme sunshine, snow or rain and they can sometimes be located a long distance from the electrical grid, such as in the case of railway tunnel shafts. This exposes them to a risk of corrosion and intrusion.

Another challenge involves dealing with unforeseen incidents, such as fires and passenger accidents. It is essential that the emergency services can reach the site of the incident unimpeded when necessary.

What are the access control requirements?

All areas within the rail infrastructure need tailored access control solutions, which meet the requirements of each location and user.

Given the complexity of the infrastructure, composed of sprawling or isolated sites and including tunnels and railway emergency exits, locks without cable are mandatory. Easy installation and minimal maintenance are also required. It means that the keys must supply the required power and access rights to the cylinder.  

As service quality is an issue, a seamless, standardised access control solution is needed to allow maintenance companies and staff easy access to the right place at the right time.

How does LOCKEN work with the rail industry to mitigate challenges?

We provide a bespoke approach when working with all industries, in order to meet the individual needs of each organisation and business sector. We are committed to delivering the best solution, based on our state-of-the-art access management software and latest-generation induction electronic key. This contactless technology allows instant opening of the cylinders and unrivalled durability. The cylinders are also compatible with mechanical locks, which may prove useful when accessing less sensitive areas. A single electronic key with the necessary access rights can open a vast number of locks and replace cumbersome bunches of keys. This frees up technicians when opening gates or moving between sites.

How flexible is LOCKEN’s electronic access control solution?

All keys are controlled by the same software and managers can accurately configure each key according to the users. Any openings or attempted break-ins are logged in the electronic key’s memory and sent to the central software.

A Bluetooth version of the key offers even greater control, as access rights can also be updated on site using a smartphone and mobile app. It is therefore capable of offering centralised control and case-by-case, real-time access control, reaching standards of security that are usually only available from on-line access control systems.

This cutting-edge technology (RFID, beacons, etc.) sends employees verification messages about their access rights or required safety instructions (wearing a helmet, the buddy system, etc.). Similarly, users can interact with the central system and submit on-site attendance reports, flag up anomalies errors, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet ever stricter security requirements and accommodate the latest Government guidelines.

The electronic key does not require any on-site cabling or batteries for the lock, because the key supplies the cylinder with the energy and the information required to open the lock. In this way, users working on large infrastructures or complex sites with multiple points of access can make do with a single key. The solution is made even more flexible by its purely mechanical component, which can be used to open conventional mechanical cylinders, wherever the two types of locks co-exist within the same system, which may prove useful when accessing less-sensitive areas.

This approach ties in with increasingly strict security policies within the underground rail industry.

How do you ensure the reliability and robustness of the solution?

With high volumes of people entering and exiting different areas of the underground system, it is important to be able to trace who has been where, when and for how long. Advanced software suites can provide access to all operations performed by users, including a complete audit trail. This information is often used by managers for audits, improvements or compliance.

When initiating a new access control system, it is important that the supplier and customer work together to understand; who can enter a secure area, where in the building each individual has access to, when an individual can enter a secure area and how an individual will gain access to a secure area.

This information can be crucial in the event of a security breach, enabling investigators to find out who was the last known key holder in that location and what their movements were whilst there. What’s more, a lost or stolen electronic key can be disabled to prevent any unwanted intrusions. The reporting feature aims to report any attempts to gain access outside specified time ranges or in out-of-bounds areas, thus detecting any anomalies.

The electronic key has the IP 66-67-68-69 rating, meaning it’s designed to protect against intrusion from foreign bodies and pressurised water jets, and particularly hardy in the event of damp, rain and dust. The cutting-edge contactless induction technology prevents any poor communication caused by corrosion.

The cylinders have CEN 1303 certification, which guarantees their resistance to drilling and vandalism.

The electronic access control solution comes with a backup key configured with unlimited rights. This gives the fire brigade and police round-the-clock access to all areas, with no need to update access rights.

How does the solution deal with unforeseen incidents such as fires and passenger accidents? 

The electronic access control solution comes with a backup key configured with unlimited rights. This gives the fire brigade and police round-the-clock access to all areas, with no need to update access rights.

Crossrail chooses LOCKEN solution and ISEO key for new Elizabeth line for London

LOCKEN, part of the ISEO group, was recently selected to provide its leading access control solution to Crossrail Ltd for its new Elizabeth line, named on honour of Her Majesty the Queen. The line will stop at 41 stations, stretching more than 60 miles and crossing central London through a 13-mile tunnel, from Reading and Heathrow in the west across to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

LOCKEN’s access control solution has been chosen for its simplicity, durability and maximum reliability. Unaffected by humidity and compliant with the strictest break-in resistance standards, the solution is perfectly suited to the different access configurations present across the line.

MEB Media Publishing (UK) Ltd

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ME14 1UR

United Kingdom


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