French company Thales has completed the retrofitting of a modern European Train Control System (ETCS) on three of Porterbrook’s Class 43 high speed train vehicles, as part of the UK Digital Railway Programme.

Designed to be in-line with the latest UNISIG baseline (B3R2), the ETCS in-cab signalling technology will help improve performance, stated Thales.

It is also expected to minimise delays besides offering more safety and lowering expenses by removing trackside signalling.

Thales stated that ‘the project marks the first time that the firm has fitted the ETCS On-Board System in the UK’.

The company secured the retrofitting contract from Porterbrook in 2018.

The units are being prepared for full testing following successful level two testing at Network Rail’s Melton Rail Innovation & Development Centre over the last two weeks.

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By GlobalData

It will help reach ‘Approval to Place Into Service’ by the end of this year.

Thales onboard portfolio head Mark Newill said: “This milestone proves Thales’s capability to modify existing cabs with the new system so they can be ETCS-compatible.

“The multiple stakeholders involved all adopted a collaborative approach to get to the point where we can trial the system on an operational track.”

Last month, Thales supported the delivery of Tanta, Sedfa, and Al Ousayrat stations for the Egyptian National Railways (ENR).

These stations are within the rail corridor, spanning from Alexandria to Aswan through Cairo.