British engineering firm Atkins has received a contract to upgrade the signalling capability in the South of Cornwall as part of the Cornwall Capacity Enabling Scheme for Network Rail.

Atkins will carry out the upgrade of the signalling system between Truro and St Erth throughout GRIP stages 4b-8 of the project under the new £9m deal.

The works are set to include detailed designing, construction, installation, testing and commissioning into service, which are all scheduled for completion before the introduction of the December 2018 timetable.

Atkins Transportation senior project manager Stephen Mills said: “A range of in-house disciplines will be deployed, including signalling and telecommunications, power supplies, permanent way and civil engineering services, to implement 12 new signals and upgrade seven level crossings.”

"The upgrade work is an exciting development for the communities of South Cornwall, as this part of larger strategy to enable more frequent services to and from Truro."

The project is expected to improve local connectivity in the region, thereby enabling the introduction of one additional train per hour between Plymouth and Penzance.

Network Rail programme manager Richard Evans said: “The upgrade work is an exciting development for the communities of South Cornwall, as this part of larger strategy to enable more frequent services to and from Truro from late 2018 onwards.”

Atkins has extensive previous experience in providing end-to-end signalling solutions to maximise the capacity of the UK’s existing rail infrastructure, as well as optimising transport operations.

The company currently employs around 18,300 people, and specialises in the provision of design, engineering and project management consultancy across the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.