Thales and Atkins have been chosen by Network Rail to deliver a new Pathfinder Project for heritage locomotives as part of the East Coast Digital Programme.
The project will see design and trail fitment of the European Train Control System (ETCS).
The system will be supplied and trial fitted on LNER A1 No. 60163 Tornado and designed for a Black 5 steam locomotive and a Class 55 Deltic locomotive.
These locomotives have been selected as they are best placed to help support the project.
ETCS is the new signalling system for the East Coast Main Line and will see lineside signalling replaced with in-cab radio-based signalling.
Toufic Machnouk, Network Rail’s Director, Industry Partnership Digital, said: “This is an important world first pathfinder project which is also immensely technically challenging. The technology blends steam technology with modern electronics; by trying it out and then taking stock of the results, we will know if it is a technically and commercially viable option for heritage and charter operators.
“Establishing the pathfinder project and the work required to fit the vehicles with the technology is an example of exceptional industry collaboration.”
Phil Paisley, Atkins project manager, said: “This is an exciting project to be part of. Thanks to the skilled and committed Network Rail, Atkins and Thales teams, we’re now able to fit these trains with the equipment needed so that they can continue to be enjoyed by the public.”
Mark Newill, Project Manager at Thales in the UK, added: “Supplying and installing our ETCS equipment onto heritage and charter units for this pathfinder project allows Thales to demonstrate the robustness and versatility of our ETCS equipment. Whilst heritage and charter units each come with their own unique challenges, we are excited to be working in partnership with the East Coast Digital Programme and the vehicle owners to ensure these locomotives can be enjoyed by future generations.’’
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