Siemens grabs Port Talbot re-signalling contract as part of GWML electrification
Siemens has bagged a Network Rail contract for the GRIP 5 to 8 stages of the Port Talbot West Phase 1 re-signalling project, which will see the last section of the Great Western Main Line converted for electrification ahead of the new Intercity Express Programme (IEP) trains.
The work, spanning 153 signalling equivalent units, will cover the decommissioning of all life-expired relay interlockings, with these systems being replaced by Siemens’ Trackguard Westlock computer-based system – previously used in London Bridge and the York Rail Operating Centre (ROC), for example.
Signalling control will be transferred from the existing NX Panel at Port Talbot, in South Wales, to a new Siemens Controlguide Westcad control desk at the Wales ROC in Cardiff. Axle counters controlled through trackside functional modules will replace conventional track circuits for train detection – with new and extra power supplies being brought into service.
Andy Stringer, Siemens’ delivery director, said the company was “naturally delighted” to have been awarded the work, which comes on the back of the successful completion of its GRIP 3 and 4 contracts.
“Our team is now mobilised and working closely with Network Rail colleagues on the safe delivery of the programme as we build towards final commissioning in October 2017,” he added.
The mammoth GWML electrification project recently reached a major milestone at the end of May when a section of the line was officially declared “energised” for the first time. But the project still faces major challenges, with the ORR saying in its annual Network Rail assessment in July that while the infrastructure owner had improved its performance, the GWML electrification scheme remains “at risk”.
The rolling stock share of the programme is running well, however, with Great Western Railway recently ordering seven more Class 800 IEP trains from Hitachi after the first took its maiden voyage at the beginning of July.
(Top image credit: Network Rail)
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