ERTMS train for Hertford National Integration Facility takes shape

Posted: 21 January 2013 | | No comments yet

Work on preparing for the latest test facility on the national rail network is progressing well…

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Work on preparing for the latest test facility on the national rail network is progressing well, with the refurbishment of the train at Wembley and training of signallers at King’s Cross.

Due to start work this summer, the Hertford National Integration Facility (HNIF) will see European Train Control System (ETCS) kit from four suppliers put through its paces on a 5-mile section of the Hertford loop.

Unit 313121 is being converted into a laboratory train to test ETCS technology prior to the roll-out on the mainline network. Painted in Network Rail yellow and temporarily stripped of its bogies, 313121 will be refurbished and equipped with the latest ETCS equipment, including a technician’s workstation, before taking to the railway again.

Rob McIntosh – Network Rail’s project director for ETCS and traffic management, said: “Our facility at Hertford, and the train that will run on it, are further steps towards improving the railway across the country. Vital lessons have already been learned during our trials on the Cambrian Lines and now we are refining our knowledge in preparation for the future installation cab signalling on Great Western and East Coast main lines.

“This will begin the process to allow us to make better use of capacity, as well as saving money and adding another layer of safety to an already very safe railway.”

The test train will also be utilised to support other projects on Network Rail, including Thameslink. For that reason the 313’s bogies have been sent away for a full C4 overhaul to avoid the need for any heavy overhaul / maintenance during the lifecycle of the testing programme.

Meanwhile the interior of the train has been stripped for refurbishment and the driver’s cab is being re-designed in readiness for ETCS installation, including the Driver Machine Interface (DMI). As part of the ETCS installation on this train, duplicate screens will be set up in the second cab position and passengers in the train will also be able to see the images, plus high-definition views front and back on 42-inch plasma screens.

To allow for the operation of HNIF, bi-directional signalling has been installed on the northern section of the Hertford Loop, to allow the down line between Molewood Tunnel and Langley South junction to become a test facility. During peak hours the section will be part of the normal railway, but when ETCS testing is required the block will be ‘switched out’ – switching control from King’s Cross signal box to a laboratory facility being built at Hitchin.

In preparation, a WestCAD desk has been installed at King’s Cross to signal the loop, with a duplicate signalling simulator to train staff in its operation. The rest of the King’s Cross area is signalled using a traditional panel, with a mix of solid state and relay interlocking.

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