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Hitachi wins traffic management contract for Thameslink

Hitachi Rail Europe and its subsidiary TRE are to provide the traffic management system for Thameslink, which will complement the new ATO over ETCS in-cab signalling system to ensure the core between St Pancras and Blackfriars can handle more trains, more reliably.

Network Rail had been procuring for a national traffic management system, working with three suppliers – Hitachi, Thales and SSL. But earlier this year it decided that was the wrong approach and “curtailed” the accelerated procurement process, instead concentrating on individual project roll-outs.

Last summer, Thales won contracts to install its ARAMIS traffic management system at Romford and Cardiff ROCs (rail operating centres) for Network Rail, while SSL was to develop interfaces between traffic management and external systems, known as LINX (the Layered Information Network Exchange).

Hitachi’s new Core Thameslink contract to implement Tranista is worth £24m, with options to extent to the South East and LNE routes.

It held an event had its London headquarters in Holborn yesterday to sign the contracts and discuss the future.

Although the version of traffic management to be implemented has been somewhat “pared down” compared to what was discussed originally ('Integrated TMS'), it is still significant, with the scope to automatically control parts of the signalling system and offering a function known as ‘plan/re-plan’ – which Network Rail describes as a “simulation function” – “If I hold train A here at East Croydon, what will the effects on Trains B and C be?”

Three Bridges ROC resize 635736725270091788

Three Bridges ROC, controlling parts of Sussex, London and the Thameslink Core

From 2018, there will be capacity for 24 trains per hour to run through the Thameslink core. Although traffic management isn’t a direct requirement for those frequencies – that is unlock instead by ATO over ETCS – it will ensure services are more reliable and that the network can recover from disruption much more quickly.

The system is also aimed at freeing up signallers' time to concentrate more on the strategic picture and dealing with problems.

Hitachi has created a subsidiary called Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe Ltd to handle the contract, bringing together TRE (which it wholly owns) and its existing Information & Telecommunications Systems and Infrastructure Systems Divisions.

Hitachi Rail Europe MD Karen Boswell, formerly the head of East Coast under Directly Operated Railways, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Hitachi Rail in the UK, following on the back of the Class 395 (Javelin) high speed trains in 2009, the InterCity Express Programme (IEP) contract in July 2012 and Abellio’s ScotRail contract signed in March this year.

“Hitachi Rail is determined to strengthen its railway-related business in the UK and I look forward to working with Network Rail to deploy our proven Traffic Management System, which will bring significant benefits to rail commuters.”

Thameslink Programme director Simon Blanchflower said: “Traffic management will provide extra guidance to our signallers and work with in-cab signalling and automatic train operation to deliver 24 trains per hour between London Blackfriars and St Pancras International. It will also improve the time it takes the railway to recover from delays and deliver fantastic customer information, to improve performance and passengers’ experience of our railway.”

RTM spoke to the key players after yesterday contract signing, including Boswell, Network Rail’s Martin Chatfield and Gary Porter, and TRE’s Tim Gray. The full story will be in the August/September edition of RTM.

Hitachi Rail Europe MD Karen Boswell, NR's Gary Porter sign deal raffic Management to Thameslink, plus NR and Hitachi peeps resize 635736725396337084

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