Industry Collaboration Leads to Successful ETCS Testing of Class 387

GWR, Bombardier, DB Cargo, the DfT, Heathrow Airport and Porterbrook worked together to test the European Train Control System (ETCS) on the Class 387 electric multiple units on the mainline between Reading and Heathrow.

The parties successfully ran the tests at the end of March. During the test process they performed more than ten return trips, demonstrating the functionality of the on-train hardware and software as well as the associated infrastructure.

Class 387 exterior
Class 387 exterior

The teams from the participating parties have also performed other works, such as:

  • ETCS and refurbishment modifications on the Class 387s
  • ETCS software installation and dynamic testing
  • Necessary infrastructure upgrades
  • Technical documentation and support
  • Operational procedures and notices

The successful ETCS testing has also demonstrated the positive progress with ETCS fitment and vehicle refurbishment at Bombardier’s Ilford depot. The rigorous testing of the ETCS software at Network Rail’s Melton Mowbray RIDC test track over recent months, which has allowed key operational personnel to be trained, has made good progress as well.

The GWR 387 EMUs will carry passengers on the Heathrow Express later in 2020. Once in service, passengers will also enjoy at-seat USB power, wifi, plenty of luggage space and a Business First class.

Mary Grant, CEO Porterbrook, said:

“Notwithstanding these challenging times, we need to continue focusing on delivering key projects so that the railway is ready to support UK PLC when the current situation stabilises. Introduction of an ETCS fitted fleet on services to Heathrow is just such a project and will enable a service uplift to meet expected passenger numbers when the airport returns to its role as a key European aviation hub.”

The manufacturer of the Class 387 trains is Bombardier Transportation.

Matt Byrne, UK President of Bombardier, said:

“Though we are now on a production pause, project progress and industry cooperation continues wherever it is safe to do so. This landmark refurbishment and upgrade project, involving teams from both our services and rail control solutions businesses, is an industry first: retrofitting ETCS equipment to existing fleets.”

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