Network Rail awards first contracts for traffic-management system


Network Rail’s plans for a more affordable, higher performance railway have taken a step forward with the award of contracts for the first phase of a new nationwide traffic management system for Britain’s railways.

Traffic-management technology sits at the heart of Network Rail’s operating strategy, which will consolidate control of Britain’s rail network from more than 800 signal boxes into 12 state-of-the-art rail operating centres over the next 15 to 30 years.

Once fully implemented, this strategy will cut the cost of Britain’s railways by £250 million each year, improve industry efficiency, reduce delays and provide more accurate and timely information to staff and passengers.??

Today, contracts worth a combined £28.8 million have been awarded to Thales UK to deploy traffic management technology at Network Rail’s Cardiff and Romford operating centres by December 2015.

Thales is one of three global suppliers that has been working with Network Rail since 2012 to develop and test a traffic-management software prototype, using real-time information to mock up how the new system would control the railway in future.??

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, said: “As the number of people and businesses relying on rail continues to grow, it is vital we have the technology to make the best use of Britain’s rail infrastructure.

>See also: Inside Network Rail's £1 billion IT budget, and CIO Susan Cooklin stands up for women in tech

“The traffic management which will be deployed on the network uses tried and tested technology used on railways around the world to help deliver a leaner, more efficient and reliable network.”

Network Rail is leading the industry in bringing this modern technology onto the UK railway system, which will ultimately transform our network.

This new, highly automated system will allow larger areas of the network to be controlled from fewer locations and will help increase capacity and improve reliability through more effective handling of disruption. ??

Thales has been chosen after an exhaustive process and rigorous testing. Train operators will also be using common systems to maximise the benefits this new technology will bring.

Traffic management systems are used extensively, and successfully, around the world on a number of rail networks.

Network Rail has analysed and compared best practice from these different systems in order to develop a reliable product, which will suit the varied demands of Britain’s complex rail network.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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