Porterbrook Continues Successful ETCS Testing

Once again a team made up of employees from Porterbrook, PCMS, Great Western Railway, Bombardier and DB Cargo (supported by ROG) have successfully run a further suite of tests for the European Train Control System (ETCS) using an eight-car GWR Class 387 on the Heathrow-Reading line.

Heathrow Airport Limited and signalling teams from Network Rail provided assistance along the route.

GWR Class 387
A GWR Class 387 Bombardier Electrostar

Unlike previous testing, this suite was of course conducted under the difficult conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing meant that temporary remote monitoring equipment was installed. This connected the driver’s cab with the passenger area where the test team was situated.

Forward-facing cameras were installed in the cab above the driver. These relayed the ETCS Driver Machine Interface (DMI) display to the test team who were unable to monitor it directly. Under ETCS operation the display depicts the train’s speed and movement authority.

A further camera was fitted next to the driver, which captured the infrastructure and signalling equipment outside the train. This footage was used to make sure there were no discrepancies between the traditional signals and the ETCS data.

Over the weekend, the team conducted 20 specific tests of both the on-board and lineside ETCS equipment. Consequently, the introduction of ETCS operation on the Heathrow route remains on schedule for later in 2020.

Mary Grant, CEO, Porterbrook, said:

“The latest successful Class 387 ETCS proving run is a testament to what can be achieved when the railway industry works together. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the team managed to safely maintain social-distancing and complete an exhaustive programme of tests in record time. My thanks to all our suppliers and partners for supporting this programme, which is a key to delivering enhanced capacity on services to Heathrow.”

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