February's top stories: Wabtec's $1.034bn Tex Rail contract, UK's new rail app

Wabtec provided signalling and communications for $1.034bn Tex Rail project, Victoria released request for proposal (RFP) to build the A$518m ($397m) Ballarat line, UK scientists developed a new app for rail companies. Railway-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from February 2017.


Wabtec to provide signalling and communications for $1.034bn Tex Rail

Wabtec secured a contract worth $97m to provide signalling and communication services for the new $1.034bn Tex Rail line, which is being developed by the Fort Worth Transportation Authority in the US.

The 27-mile, double-track line is expected to open next year. Under the contract, Wabtec will provide wayside signalling, as well as communication services, including a control and command centre, for the Tex rail line.

Set to begin in downtown Fort Worth, the line will extend to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and is expected to carry more than 13,600 daily riders using nine rail stations once complete. 

Victoria seeks proposals to build $397m Ballarat line

The government of Victoria in Australia released the request for proposal (RFP) to build the A$518m ($397m) Ballarat line.

The new project is expected to create space for more trains with greater frequency on the Ballarat line.

As part of the upgrade works, a 17km section of single track between Deer Park West and Melton will be doubled, which will lead the way for future electrification of the line to Melton.

Reform Scotland urges government to transform rail network

Independent thinktank Reform Scotland suggested that the country's government should set-up a commission to look at projects capable of transforming the nation's rail network.

Former Labour Transport Minister Tom Harris submitted the written evidence on behalf of Reform Scotland to Transport Scotland’s Rail Infrastructure Strategy Consultation.

Harris suggests that a Scottish Rail Infrastructure Commission should be in-place to inject provide input for the long-term rail vision. It should consider whether new lines from the central belt to north and/or south of Scotland could improve growth in those areas.

Systra consortium to provide consultancy for Brussels metro modernisation

A consortium of Systra, Geste and Tractebel secured a deal from Société des Transports Intercommunaux de Bruxelles (STIB) to provide consultancy services for the modernisation programme of Brussels metro lines in Belgium.

As part of the modernisation, two of Brussels’ metro lines, one and five, will be revamped.

Under the six-year deal, the Systra consortium will provide detailed design, as well as offer supervision and testing of the signalling system and the new rolling stock.

Thales to supply telecommunications system for Vietnam's Hanoi metro Line 3

Thales secured its first transportation contract in Vietnam to deliver a complete telecommunications system for Line 3 of the Hanoi metro, currently being constructed in the country's capital city.

The €265m contract has been signed between Hanoi's Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB) and a French consortium, comprising Alstom, Thales and Colas Rail.

Being the first of five routes developed under the Hanoi metro project, the 12.5km Line 3 will help reduce congestion, as well as enhance road safety and public health in the city through emissions reductions.

ABB to supply traction and on-board power equipment to three rail operators

ABB won $70m worth contracts from Switzerland-based train manufacturer Stadler to supply traction and on-board power equipment to three European rail operators.

ABB’s traction converters and traction transformers will be installed on Stadler’s new Fast Light Innovative Regional Train (FLIRT) train for the Swiss operator Schweizerische Südostbahn (SOB).

The new systems with integrated onboard power supplies and traction transformers are planned to be installed in 80 Stadler electric trains for suburban and intercity routes in Switzerland, Sweden and Hungary.

SNCF uses IBM IoT solution for improved rail safety

French railways operator SNCF is using IBM Watson's internet of things (IoT) platform to provide improved rail safety for 13.5 million daily passengers.

With IBM’s Cloud-based IoT platform, SNCF is connecting its complete rail system from trains, railroad tracks and stations to gather insights from real-time information on data.

With these insights, the company will be able to manage its equipment, as well as improve train security and availability.

CoSMo and Alstom partner to develop application for rail system efficiency

Technology company CoSMo and France-based Alstom collaborated to develop a new application to improve the efficiency of global rail systems. 

Intended to raise the global standard for operations optimisation, the application will allow operators to consider the entirety of their rail services.

It will be based on CoSMo’s software platform.

UK scientists develop app to help rail companies ensure a smooth ride

Scientists at the UK's University of Birmingham developed a new app that allows passengers to use their smartphones and help rail companies globally improve the ride quality on their trains.

With the information collected by the app, railway companies will get instant feedback from passengers with regard to bumps, bangs and vibrations on their trains.

The study used artificial neural networks to map data gathered from smartphones to evaluate ride quality. It revealed that accelerometers found in modern smartphones can be used to measure ride comfort.

ITG Creator uses Qlik platform to help Virgin Trains assess customer experience

UK-based data company ITG Creator revealed it has been using Qlik’s visual analytics platform on Virgin Trains services to gain a detailed insight into customer opinions and travel experience.

ITG has worked with Qlik to develop the Awesometer, a dashboard-driven mobile and desktop reporting app, which provides the train operator with access to real-time visualisations of feedback from online customer surveys.

Information will be used to improve satisfaction with boarding, seating, as well as on-board entertainment.