Hitachi Rail Completes First Dynamic Testing of Its Digital Interlocking Signalling System on Paris-Lyon HSR Line

Hitachi Rail has completed the first dynamic testing of its digital interlocking signalling system on the high-speed railway line between Paris and Lyon.

This is an important milestone in the company’s deployment of its latest-generation interlocking system and means the project is on target to enter operational service in autumn 2024.

Working with SNCF Reseau, the French rail infrastructure manager, Hitachi Rail is modernising the Paris-Lyon high-speed line by replacing the existing signal boxes with its computerised interlocking systems, known as SEI+. This undertaking is part of the LGV+ Paris-Lyon contract that Hitachi Rail won in December 2019. The total contract value is EUR 129.3 million.

A high-speed train on the Paris-Lyon line
A high-speed train on the Paris-Lyon line

Dynamic testing puts new equipment through its paces in a real-world environment. It therefore marks the culmination of all the preceding preparation and programming.

The tests were performed in an initial section in the Paris area (Zone A). It confirmed that the interlocking system correctly allowed the test train, equipped with ERTMS digital signalling, to run with real commands from the Mistral remote control centre in Lyon, which is more than 500km away. The system uses the European standard for ground-train communication and interoperability.

Bernard Teyssieux, Project Manager at Hitachi Rail, said:

“This is the first time that Hitachi Rail's remit includes essential services such as on-platform testing and on-site testing as part of the renovation project of a line operated by SNCF. We would therefore like to thank SNCF for its confidence and the close collaboration between our respective teams, which has enabled us to successfully complete this key milestone of the project.”

One of the reasons why the tests are quite complex in this case is because the line used is operational. This means testing can only occur at night. Hitachi Rail’s on-site testers supervised the SEI+ substations that were tested along the line and assisted SNCF staff in the control room in Lyon to gather and analyse the results.

The next milestone in this project is the completion of product development with the associated safety file and the end of on-site testing so that the system can enter commercial operation by the coming autumn.

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