UK: Network Rail Works with Alstom on Portsmouth Direct Upgrade Project

Network Rail has awarded Alstom a 49 million GBP (58.98m euros | 64.23 USD) signalling, infrastructure and control technology contract as part of its Portsmouth Direct upgrade project.

This project forms part of the Major Signalling Framework Agreement (MSFA) for the Southern Region that Alstom won in 2020.

The London Waterloo to Portsmouth line, known as the Portsmouth Direct route, was built over 150 years ago. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic it was one of the busiest commuter routes in the country, transporting 40,000 passengers each day.

The upgrade project will see work take place to improve signalling, track and level crossings between now and 2024.

Alstom has been tasked with replacing life-expired equipment with the latest signalling and level crossing technology between Farncombe in Surrey and Petersfield in Hampshire. This includes its digital Smartlock interlockings.

Nine level crossings will be replaced, including five existing automatic half-barrier crossings upgraded to full barrier control, plus three footpath crossings installed with stop lights and object controllers.

Alstom MAR-S automatic route setting technology
Alstom MAR-S automatic route setting technology

Control of the area’s signalling will also be transferred from three local signal boxes to Network Rail’s Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre, using Alstom’s MCS ‘Infinity’ remote signalling control and MAR-S automatic route setting technology, and track circuits will be replaced with axle counters.

This will deliver a 50% power saving across the project area and improved safety for trackside maintenance staff.

Jason Baldock, Managing Director, Digital and Integrated Solutions at Alstom, said:

“(By working) collaboratively as one team with our supply chain and Network Rail Southern's team, we are in a great place to deliver a more reliable railway for passengers on the key Farncombe to Petersfield route.

“Combining automation with the latest Alstom digital technology, we will reduce operating costs, drive greater efficiencies and improve safety for trackside workers.”

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