ETCS fitted to Class 43 HST power cars

Class 43 ETCS

Inside the Class 43 // Credit: Porterbrook

, the state-of-the-art European Train Control System, has been fitted to three of ’s HST power cars, marking a major step forward for the UK Digital Railway Programme.

ETCS is an in-cab technology that is set to transform the railway network by removing trackside signalling. In doing so, it will improve performance, reduce delays, enhance safety and reduce costs. As fitted to the Class 43s the ETCS complies with the latest UNISIG baseline (B3R2),

The Class 43 power cars fitted with the ETCS are owned by Porterbrook, which is the lead ROSCO for the Class 43s under the National Joint ROSCO Programme. They form part of Network Rail’s New Measurement Train, which carries out essential infrastructure monitoring work across the whole network. Fitment of ETCS is a priority to enable continued data recording on the East Coast and in other areas as the technology is rolled out.

In 2018, Porterbrook awarded a contract to to carry out the First in Class (FiC) design and fitment project. The project is the first time that Thales has fitted the ETCS On-Board System in the UK. Over the last two weeks, Level 2 Testing was carried out at Network Rail’s Melton Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC). That testing was successful, and preparation is now underway for the units to undergo full testing and reach Approval to Place Into Service by the end of the year.

Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook, said:

“Successful testing of Thales ETCS equipment is a major milestone, and we are delighted that the New Measurement Train will continue to operate on the East Coast once conventional signals are removed as we move to ETCS Level 2. This project is a key part of the rollout of the Digital Railway and my thanks goes to everyone who has played their part in getting us to this important stage.”

Mark Newill, Head of On-board Portfolio at Thales, said:

“This milestone proves Thales’s capability to modify existing cabs with the new digital in-cab system so they can be ETCS-compatible. The multiple stakeholders involved worked collaboratively to get us to the point where we can trial the system on an operational track.”