Network Rail has reached framework agreements with four suppliers for the development and design of a new, European-standard signalling system for Britain’s railways.
ETCS does not require line-side signals and is cheaper to install than conventional re-signalling.
Network Rail and its industry partners have chosen ETCS as one of its recommended methods of re-signalling and have developed a plan for its deployment across the network.
Starting in April, the agreements signed with four contractors cover a one-year development phase which will confirm the suppliers’ design of a European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 signalling system.
These will then be demonstrated on Network Rail’s new testing facility on the Hertford loop with contracts for the delivery of the programme to be awarded in 2014.
ETCS is part of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) – a tried and tested signalling system which will replace traditional line-side railway signals with a computer display inside every train cab, reducing the costs of maintaining the railway, improving performance and enhancing safety.
The first drive to install ERTMS will take place on the Great Western main line starting in 2016 as part of the large-scale resignalling of the line, coinciding with the arrival of new trains and electrification.
The East Coast main line (commencing 2018) and Midland main line (commencing 2020) are scheduled to follow soon after.
The successful companies are Signalling Solutions Ltd, Invensys Rail, Infrasig and Ansaldo STS.