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Bombardier signs agreement with Porterbrook to fit digital onboard signalling on UK trains

Posted: 6 January 2021 | | No comments yet

Under the agreement, Bombardier will fit ETCS equipment and the BOMBARDIER EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection system to all ELECTROSTAR fleets in the UK.

Bombardier signs agreement with Porterbrook to fit digital onboard signalling on UK trains

Credit: Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Transportation has announced that it has signed a framework agreement with Porterbrook, the UK rolling stock company, to fit digital onboard signalling to BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR trains in the UK.

This project falls under the UK’s Digital Railway Programme, which is funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) through Network Rail and is managed by the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP).

Under the framework agreement, Bombardier will deliver the design work needed for the fitment of the European Train Control System (ETCS) equipment and the BOMBARDIER EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system to all ELECTROSTAR fleets in the UK – the most numerous Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) type currently operating on Britain’s railways.

The initial agreement is worth £11.3 million and involves the design and fitting of First in Class (FiC) ETCS equipment to a Porterbrook-owned Class 387 ELECTROSTAR train operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

The FiC contract has been authorised by Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited (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. Once the FiC unit receives regulatory approvals, all other ELECTROSTAR train owners and operators will then be able to opt to have Bombardier fit the EBI Cab 2000 to their trains under the same framework agreement.

By fitting ETCS equipment, the trains will become ‘Digital Railway-ready’, so 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.

ETCS is becoming the standard signalling and train controlling technology on railways across Europe and beyond, and, in the UK, it is being rolled out on a national basis, starting with sections of the East Coast Mainline, Thameslink and Elizabeth lines.

Richard Hunter, President of Rail Control Solutions at Bombardier Transportation, said: “As a market leader in ETCS technology worldwide, 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 on the UK rail network.”

Director of Engineering Services at Porterbrook, Jason Groombridge, said: “Porterbrook is delighted to lead on the fitment of ETCS to the first ELECTROSTAR train. ELECTROSTARs are in service with several train operators and are popular with passengers. 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.”

Steve Lammin, Engineering Director at GTR, said: “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 of the benefits we know that this will bring to the railway and our passengers.”

Under the agreement, the equipment will be fitted at operator depots or Bombardier’s Ilford facility, and design work will be undertaken at Bombardier’s Derby facility.

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