Class 43, via Network Rail

The Class 43 successfully completes ETCS testing

The East Coast Digital Programme has reached another milestone as testing conducted on the Class 43 trains has successfully been completed to European Train Control System (ETCS) standards. This will form a major part of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train.

European Train Control System (ETCS) in cab signalling technology represents a major innovation within the sector, producing a more reliable service with reduced delays, whilst offering improved safety at reduced costs and reduced emission production through the removal of lineside infrastructure. The successful testing programme at Network Rail’s recently upgraded Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) now enables commissioning of the relevant Class 43 power cars into ETCS Level-NTC (National Train Control) level. The RIDC facilities are beneficial to enabling progression Level-NTC without any need for any passenger disruption through track possessions.

The RIDC testing process for the Class 43 saw several days of running and builds on an initial phase of lab based testing that integrated and proved the efficacy of the technology. This then progressed to physical testing to provide evidence that the trains will

The East Coast Digital Programme will require around 700 vehicles to be prepared, seeing around 20-25 classes of passenger and freight trains being tested through the First in Class (FiC) testing programme at RIDC over the next two years.

Toufic Machnouk, Network Rail’s Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway, said:

“The ability to test the first in class vehicles at RIDC is a corner stone for the delivery of ECDP and the further roll out of ETCS across the network. This allows the train to be tested and certified following the fitment of new safety critical control technology without disrupting the operational railway.

“The collaboration created on the Class 43 project is another example of how our partners are rising to the unique challenges with retrofitting vehicles. Over the next two years a variety of vehicle types will undergo ETCS testing as we continue with the upgrades and retro fitments that enable ECML south to migrate to ETCS operations.”

The project has been helmed by Porterbrook, the lead ROSCO for the Class 43 under the National Joint ROSCO Programme (NJRP). Thales was awarded the contract to carry out the First in Class design and fitment project where, upon the completion of testing, it will mark the first time that the Thales On-Board System has been successfully fitted in the UK.

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