Network Rail has awarded a new contract to Chippenham-based Siemens Rail Automation to install European Train Control System (ETCS) in-cab signalling on-board the UK’s freight fleet.
The project forms part of the country’s ‘Digital Railway programme’ and aims to deploy the new technology in nearly 750 vehicles.
The most frequently used varieties of locomotives will be the first to be equipped with ETCS technology.
Siemens Rail Automation UK managing director Rob Morris said: “We are delighted to be working closely with Network Rail and the Freight Operating Companies (FOCs) on this landmark digital railway project, which will ultimately be one of the largest ETCS on-board retrofit programmes in the UK.
“This solution will allow the freight operating companies to continue to safely deliver a reliable service as ETCS technology continues to be rolled-out across the UK.”
The contract will see Siemens install its Trainguard 200 ETCS solution on-board freight locomotives operating across the country.
The company also plans to equip the vehicles with the Trainguard Level 2, Baseline 3 system to align with Network Rail’s proposals for installing ETCS across the rail network.
ETCS technology enables the trains to operate within safe speed limits.
The system permits the driver to operate the train, only intervening to take control of the vehicle in situations where the ETCS distance or speed limits are either exceeded or in danger of being exceeded.
Siemens Trainguard 200 is a lower-power solution offering robust fall-back odometry and radar configuration.
It is equipped with an Automatic Warning System (AWS) and Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS), as well as the ETCS driver display.
The technology has been designed specifically for freight classes and is equipped with a flexible hardware configuration.
Initial works for each class of vehicle are set to commence immediately, while overhaul works for the entire freight fleet will begin in 2022.