Finance

Hitachi to upgrade 1960s Gloucestershire railway signalling


Hitachi Rail has won a contract to help design digital train signalling technology for lines around Gloucestershire, as part of a multi-million pound upgrade to services in the area.

The rail arm of the Japanese tech giant and Sheffield-based engineering firm Linbrooke have been awarded the contract by Network Rail as the operator looks to improve reliability and safety for both passengers and its trackside engineers.

Hitachi Rail and Linbrooke will work to introduce a new electronic signalling system which will replace the current switch panel that was installed in the 1960s.

The Signalling Command Control (SCC) system will be designed to help Network Rail respond more effectively to any issues or incidents, reducing passenger disruption and improving management of rail traffic.

It will also aim to allow those working on the railway to carry out fault checking remotely rather than current physical trackside checks.

The contract has been awarded as part of Hitachi Rail’s Wales and Western Region Major Signalling Renewals Framework, which covers 2,700 miles of track. The railway in these regions serves over 122 million passengers.

Hitachi Rail said that over the next year work would be done to tailor existing wayside communication technology to the requirement of the network around Gloucester.

The firm said only a “slight adaptation” would be needed for the system to be approved by Network Rail for the next stage of the programme.

Hitachi Rail’s digital signalling is already in use in Italy, France, Japan, America and the Middle East.

Nick Hughes, sales director for the UK and Ireland at Hitachi Rail, said: “I am confident that collaboration and our global signalling expertise can help unlock more frequent and reliable journeys for UK passengers.

“The progress we’re making with Network Rail is a significant milestone for Hitachi Rail’s signalling business in the UK.”

Karen Williams, traffic management sponsor at Network Rail, said: “We look forward to working with Hitachi Rail and Linbrooke on this innovative and cost-effective solution to life-extend the signalling assets within the Gloucestershire area, which will provide a safer working environment for our trackside colleagues and improved services for our passengers.”

Martin Wright, managing director of Linbrooke Rail added that the scheme would bring “much-needed benefits” to the operation of trains in the Gloucester area.

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