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LU begins testing ATC signalling

Testing for the new signalling system to be installed on London Underground’s Sub Surface Lines has commenced.

LU and Bombardier are installing the new Cityflo 650 system to run more trains and increase capacity. The contract is worth around £354m.

The upgrade will deliver a new signalling system for 310km of track and 113 SSR stations, equipment installation for 191 S Stock trains, 86 Piccadilly line trains, 49 engineering trains and six heritage trains; one integrated service control centre and back-up facility; seven signalling equipment rooms; and 36 major track layout changes.

The work will be complete by 2018. LU and Bombardier are carrying out initial testing until mid-2013 and formal testing will start with the first S Stock train fitted with automatic train control (ATC). The test track will eventually be reconfigured to replicate the operational environment of London Underground.

David Waboso, LU’s capital programmes director, said: “Over the last few years LU has been working with and learning from other metros around the world in order to identify proven ways to upgrade the Tube whilst minimising disruption.

“Carrying out testing at our dedicated 5km Old Dalby track for the next 18 months will help minimise disruption to our customers by reducing the need for closures, and proving reliability and performance levels before the system is installed. Testing commenced in December 2012 and is set to continue through to 2014, when the system will then start being installed across the SSR network.”

The system is similar to that used on Madrid’s Metro – the successful installation and operation of which is thought to have been a key driver in LU choosing Bombardier for the resignalling of the Sub Surface Lines. Cityflo 650 is also used on many other lines around the world in Europe, Asia and North America.

It is a moving block CBTC system using radio-based wide area networks to communicate between the control centre and the train, reducing the need for track-mounted cabling.

It does mean yet another signalling system is now in place, following the S40 upgrade for the Jubilee line, and DTG-R on the Victoria.

Bombardier says Cityflo 650 can be installed without interruption to services – it was installed without weekend closures in Madrid – and to tight timelines, and says it can provide interoperability with legacy train control systems and can be easily adapted.

Although the main project office is in London, Bombardier facilities in Plymouth, Derby and Reading are also involved in the works, as well as some of its global operations centres in places like Bangkok, Madrid, Helsinki and Pittsburgh.

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