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ETCS to be fitted to Electrostar Trains

UK Rolling stock company Porterbrook has awarded a framework agreement to Bombardier Transportation to fit its onboard signalling system ETCS to Bombardier Electrostar trains in the UK. The project falls under the UK’s Digital Railway Programme. Bombardier will deliver the design work needed for the fitment of the ETCS equipment and the Bombardier EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system to all Electrostar fleets in the UK. They are the most numerous Electric Multiple Unit type trains currently operating on Britain’s railways. ETCS is becoming the standard signalling and train controlling technology on railways across Europe and beyond.

Richard Hunter, President of Rail Control Solutions at Bombardier Transportation says: “Our EBI Cab 2000 onboard system supports drivers to operate at safe and optimal speeds. This is a further example of strategic investment to enable the roll out of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, capacity and safety in the UK rail network.”

First installation

The initial agreement is worth £11.3 million pounds to design and fit “First in Class” (FiC) ETCS equipment to a Porterbrook-owned Class 387 Electrostar train operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). Once the FiC unit receives regulatory approvals, all other Electrostar train owners and operators will then be able to opt to have Bombardier also fit the EBI Cab 2000 to their trains under the same framework agreement.

The FiC contract is authorised by Porterbrook as the lead rolling stock asset owner for the Electrostar trains supported by Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail, Akiem and QW Rail, under the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP).

Steve Lammin, Engineering Director of operator GTR says: “This is an exciting time in UK Rail, introducing a programme that will take us toward a more modern Digital Railway state. As lead operator for introduction of this technology onto the Electrostar platform, GTR is looking forward to working with industry partners to make this programme a success and deliver all the benefits we know this will bring the railway and our passengers.”

Modern signalling

By installing ETCS equipment, the trains will be able to take advantage of Network Rail’s modern signalling and train control technology that will increase capacity, reduce delays, enhance safety and drive down costs. In the UK, ETCS is being rolled out on a national basis in the Digital Railway Programme, funded by the Department for Transport through Network Rail and managed by the NJRP. First up are sections of the East Coast Mainline, Thameslink and Elizabeth lines.

“Electrostars are in service with several train operators and are popular with passengers, says Jason Groombridge, Director of Engineering Services at Porterbrook. “By retrofitting on-train signalling to these units, we can ensure that they can continue to meet the operational and capacity needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s railway.”

Under the agreement, the installation of the equipment will take place either at operator depots or Bombardier’s Ilford facility, and design work will be undertaken at Bombardier’s Derby facility.

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