Bombardier signs landmark deal to fit digital signalling to ELECTROSTAR trains

Global mobility solution provider Bombardier Transportation has announced today that it has signed a framework agreement with Porterbrook, the UK rolling stock company, to fit digital onboard signalling to BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR trains in the UK. This project falls under the UK’s Digital Railway Programme funded by the Department for Transport through Network Rail and is managed by the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP).

Under the framework agreement, Bombardier will deliver the design work needed for the fitment of the European Train Control System (ETCS) equipment and the BOMBARDIER EBI Cab 2000 onboard Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, to all ELECTROSTAR fleets in the UK – the most numerous Electric Multiple Unit type currently operating on Britain’s railways. 

“As a market leader in ETCS technology worldwide, our EBI Cab 2000 onboard system supports drivers to operate at safe and optimal speeds. This is a further example of strategic investment to enable the roll out of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, capacity and safety in the UK rail network.”

– Richard Hunter, President Rail Control Solutions, Bombardier Transportation

The initial agreement is worth £11.3 million (€12.3 million euro, $15.0 million US), to design and fit First in Class (FiC) ETCS equipment to a Porterbrook-owned Class 387 ELECTROSTAR trainoperated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). The FiC contract has been authorised by Porterbrook Leasing Company Limited (Porterbrook) as the lead rolling stock asset owner for the ELECTROSTAR trains supported by Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail, Akiem and QW Rail, under the National Joint ROSCO Programme. Once the FiC unit receives regulatory approvals, all other ELECTROSTAR train owners and operators will then be able to opt to have Bombardier fit the EBI Cab 2000 to their trains under the same framework agreement.

By fitting ETCS equipment, the trains will become ‘Digital Railway-ready’, so able to take advantage of Network Rail’s modern signalling and train control technology that will increase capacity, reduce delays, enhance safety and drive down costs. ETCS is becoming the standard signalling and train controlling technology on railways across Europe and beyond, and in the UK it is being rolled out on a national basis, starting with sections of the East Coast Mainline, Thameslink and Elizabeth lines.

Richard Hunter, President Rail Control Solutions, Bombardier Transportation said, “As a market leader in ETCS technology worldwide, our EBI Cab 2000 onboard system supports drivers to operate at safe and optimal speeds. This is a further example of strategic investment to enable the roll out of digital solutions to enhance efficiency, capacity and safety in the UK rail network.” 

New landmark deal to fit digital signalling to ELECTROSTAR trains.

Jason Groombridge, Director of Engineering Services, Porterbrook said, “Porterbrook is delighted to lead on the fitment of ETCS to the first ELECTROSTAR train. ELECTROSTARs are in service with several train operators and are popular with passengers. By retrofitting on-train signalling to these units, we can ensure that they can continue to meet the operational and capacity needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s railway.”

Steve Lammin, Engineering Director, GTR said, “This is an exciting time in UK Rail, introducing a programme that will take us toward a more modern Digital Railway state. As lead operator for introduction of this technology onto the ELECTROSTAR platform, GTR is looking forward to working with industry partners to make this programme a success, and deliver all the benefits we know this will bring the railway and our passengers.”

Under the agreement, the equipment will be fitted at operator depots or Bombardier’s Ilford facility, and design work will be undertaken at Bombardier’s Derby facility.