Bombardier wins contract to fit ETCS digital signalling to UK Electrostar fleet

A Class 387 Electrostar train at Three Bridges station.

Rolling stock company Porterbrook has awarded a framework agreement to Bombardier Transportation for the fitting of digital onboard signalling to its Electrostar trains in the UK. This project falls under the UK’s Digital Railway Programme, funded by the Department for Transport through Network Rail, and is managed by the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP).

Under the framework agreement, Bombardier will deliver the design work needed for the fitment of the European Train Control System (ETCS) equipment and the EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system to all Electrostar fleets in the UK – the most numerous electric multiple unit (EMU) type currently operating on Britain’s railways.

The initial agreement, worth £11.3 million, is to design and fit First in Class (FiC) ETCS equipment to a Porterbrook-owned Class 387 train operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

The FiC contract has been authorised by Porterbrook as the lead rolling stock asset owner for the Electrostar UK fleet, supported by other Electrostar owners Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail, Akiem and QW Rail, under the National Joint ROSCO Programme.

Once the FiC unit receives regulatory approvals, all the other Electrostar train owners and operators will then be able to opt to have Bombardier fit the EBI Cab 2000 to their trains under the same framework agreement.

Jason Groombridge, Porterbrook.

By fitting ETCS equipment, the trains will become ‘Digital Railway-ready’, so able to take advantage of Network Rail’s modern signalling and train control technology that will increase capacity, reduce delays, enhance safety and drive down costs. ETCS is becoming the standard signalling and train controlling technology on railways across Europe and beyond, and is being rolled out in the UK on a national basis, starting with sections of the East Coast main line, Thameslink and the new Elizabeth line.

Jason Groombridge, director of engineering services at Porterbrook, 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.

Richard Hunter,
Bombardier Transportation.

“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.”

Richard Hunter, President of Bombardier Rail Control Solutions, added: “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 roll out of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, capacity and safety in the UK rail network.”

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