The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has signed Ansaldo STS for the Hunter Valley signalling upgrade project.

The project is expected to improve the reliability and efficiency of ARTC coal freight and passenger services between Maitland and Branxton in the Hunter Valley.

Under the $13m (A$14m) project, the existing route relay interlocking system at Maitland Junction will be replaced with a computer-based system, and a new crossover will be installed.

Ansaldo has been awarded this contract following its successful completion of the $28m (A$31m) project for the introduction of a bi-directional signalling system to increase line availability and enhance operational flexibility on the Maitland to Branxton line, in the beginning of 2009.

The company, under a three-year ARTC Ansaldo STS Network Control Systems Alliance (AANCSA) contract, will undertake several control systems and signalling systems projects to increase the capacity, reliability and efficiency of ARTC owned and leased freight corridors.