Level 2 Testing Complete on Porterbrook Power Cars Retrofitted with ETCS

Porterbrook has announced that successful Level 2 testing is complete on three Class 43 power cars retrofitted with the European Train Control System (ETCS).

This achievement advances the UK’s Digital Railway Programme that aims to remove trackside signalling in favour of ETCS in-cab signalling technology, which will help train operators to reduce delays, enhance safety and cut costs.

Porterbrook Completes Level 2 Testing on Power Cars Retrofitted with ETCS
ETCS is a modern train protection system that aims to ensure the safe transportation of passengers and goods

Porterbrook awarded the contract for the design and fitment of the ETCS system within three of its Class 43 vehicles to Thales in 2018, marking the first time that Thales has fitted the ETCS On-Board System in the UK. Following successful Level 2 Testing at Network Rail’s Melton Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC), the units will now undergo full testing to achieve Approval to Place Into Service by the end of 2022.

Mark Newill, Head of On-board Portfolio at Thales said:

“This milestone proves Thales’s capability to modify existing cabs with the new digital in-cab system so they can be ETCS-compatible. The multiple stakeholders involved worked collaboratively to get us to the point where we can trial the system on an operational track.”

The Class 43 power cars were fitted and tested as part of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train, which carries out essential infrastructure monitoring work. Fitment of ETCS is a priority to enable the technology to be rolled out across the East Coast of England.

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook, said:

“Successful testing of Thales ETCS equipment is a major milestone, and we are delighted that the New Measurement Train will continue to operate on the East Coast once conventional signals are removed as we move to ETCS Level 2. This project is a key part of the rollout of the Digital Railway and my thanks goes to everyone who has played their part in getting us to this important stage.”

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