Bombardier Transportation has signed a framework agreement with the UK rolling stock company Porterbrook to install digital onboard signalling in Bombardier Electrostar trains in the UK.

Under the agreement, Bombardier will supply the design work required for the installation of the European Train Control System (ETCS) equipment and the Bombardier EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, in all Electrostar fleets.

The Bombardier EBI Cab is an ATP system that increases traffic capacity and safety, enabling shorter headways and higher speeds.

The project comes under the UK’s Digital Railway Programme, which is supervised by the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP) and financed by the Department for Transport through Network Rail.

Under the initial $15m agreement, the company will design and fit first-in-class (FiC) ETCS equipment to a Porterbrook-owned Class 387 Electrostar train, which is run by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

Under the National Joint ROSCO Programme, the FiC contract has been approved by Porterbrook Leasing Company as the prime rolling stock asset owner for the Electrostar trains supported by Angel Trains, Akiem, Eversholt Rail, and QW Rail.

After the FiC unit obtains regulatory approvals, all other Electrostar train owners and operators will then be able to fit Bombardier EBI Cab 2000 to their trains within the same framework agreement.

ETCS equipment will enable the trains to take leverage of Network Rail’s modern signalling and train control technology.

In addition, it will enhance capacity, reduce delays, improve safety and cut down costs.

In the UK, ETCS is being rolled out on a national level, starting with sections of the East Coast Mainline, Elizabeth lines and Thameslink.

Bombardier Transportation rail control solutions president Richard Hunter 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 rollout of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, capacity and safety in the UK rail network.”

Porterbrook engineering services director 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.”

GTR engineering director Steve Lammin said: “This is an exciting time in UK Rail, introducing a programme that will take us toward a more modern digital railway state.

“As the lead operator for the 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 the benefits we know this will bring the railway and our passengers.”

According to the agreement, the design work will take place at Bombardier’s Derby facility and the equipment will be fitted at the manufacturer’s Ilford site.