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Atkins awarded £29m deal for innovative Anglia re-signalling programme

Network Rail today announced that Atkins has been awarded a £29m contract for re-signalling of the Norwich-Yarmouth-Lowestoft route.

The company will provide a full suite of GRIP 5-8 design, engineering, construction, testing and commissioning services for the project, which aims to bring in new digital interlocking technology to the Anglia region.

The works will extend across the 42km route and replace the existing mechanical interlocking system with bespoke, programmable ElectroLogIXS equipment. The new digital control centre will be based at the Colchester Signalling Centre.

Atkins claimed that it will revolutionise the way signalling is run along the line, as the programme will implement Safety Integrity Level software and also remove the bulk of trackside collaterals, such as cabling and relays, with all the new hardware remote-monitored and controlled from Colchester.

“This scheme will really benefit passengers by improving reliability on this line as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan,” said Huw Edwards, Network Rail’s programme director for signalling. “We’ll be taking out the old Victorian infrastructure and replacing it with modern equivalents.

“We’re also going to be improving safety on the railway by upgrading six level crossings and putting in technology to make the railway safer for all.”

Adam Parsons, programme director of transportation at Atkins, added: “The innovative new signalling system will provide a step-change in the way the railway runs; it will be safer, more reliable and cheaper to operate and maintain.”

The Atkins director argued that the move represents an “enormous shift in the right direction” when it comes to creating a safer working environment for staff.

“Using a digital interlocking system deployed with our overall system architecture significantly reduces the amount of time which track engineers will be required to spend in safety-critical environments, maintaining and repairing signalling systems,” Parsons explained.

“Having less equipment to maintain also enables the infrastructure owner to demonstrate enhanced value for money in terms of the capital and operational costs for buying and running the system.

“Moreover, the removal of life-expired assets from the railway means that passengers in the area will experience new levels of reliability in the services they use.”

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Andrew Gwilt   17/08/2017 at 02:55

I think its a good idea to improve the local lines in East Anglia including re-signalling and track maintenance works. Even though the local lines are not destined to be electrified with 25kv Overhead and new Bi-Mode trains are on order that will replace the older DMU rolling stocks and to cascade the Class 170's "Turbostars" to possibly East Midlands Trains, Great Western Railway, Crosscountry, London Midland or Scotrail. With the Class 153's and Class 156's DMU Sprinters that could be cascaded to Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland, East Midlands Trains, Great Western Railway or Northern.

Andrew JG   17/08/2017 at 03:05

Plus Greater Anglia has launched their new twitter feeds based on each line and services. (@greateranglia and @GreaterAngliaPR (Greater Anglia News)) @ga_southend, @ga_mainline, @ga_westanglia and @ga_regional. These are the new Twitter feeds from Greater Anglia. @ga_southend - between Liverpool Street and Southend Victoria/Southminster (Crouch Valley Line). @ga_mainline - between Liverpool Street and Ipswich, including Essex branch lines (Braintree, Sudbury, Harwich Town, Clacton-on-Sea and Walton-on-the-Naze) @ga_westanglia - between Liverpool Street and Cambridge North, including Stansted Express (@Stansted_Exp) and Hertford East branch line. @ga_regional - between Ipswich and Norwich to Cambridge, including branch lines (Peterborough, Sheringham/Cromer, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Felixstowe)

Rail Realist   18/08/2017 at 15:27

Rather full of hype and not much detail. Norwich Yarmouth Lowestoft was earmarked by the Digital Railway group as an early deployment site for ERTMS Level 3. That was quietly dropped but something less adventurous seems to have crept in. Yes, the lines are still largely signalled with traditional signalboxes and semaphore signals so replacement is certainly due. What is this 'digital' signalling that is to be used? ERTMS Level 2 perhaps or something proprietary like that on the Cromer line? Looks to be a conventional electronic interlocking retaining lineside signals. Maybe pragmatic but hardly innovative. As to being more reliable, that is very debatable; mechanical signalling is probably the most reliable system yet devised and when things fail, overcoming them to keep train service moving is relatively easy

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