Thales has successfully completed two key telecommunications projects in the North East for Network Rail, following contract awards from Invensys Rail in 2009. Both projects, delivered from Thales UK’s mainline rail projects team, were delivered ahead of schedule and without any problems.
The first of these projects was the Falsgrave resignalling interlocking project, a track renewal scheme in and around the Scarborough station area. Network Rail needed to rationalise and replace the various legacy signalling systems and equipment in this area with a new system that would enable trains to enter and depart Scarborough station more quickly and efficiently.
The project involved the closure of the Falsgrave signal box for all operational use, and the transfer of all signalling controls to the nearby Seamer signalling box (about 6km away). By only utilising this single modernised signalling centre Network Rail are now able to make long-term efficiencies in day-to-day operations.
The project was challenging from an engineering point of view – a considerable amount of preparatory work had to be done in advance while the station was still in use to ensure that only the shortest possible closure time was needed to complete the works (and minimal disruption to the travelling public). Thales had a challenging three-week closure window in which to undertake the major telecommunications work to minimise operational and passenger disruption.
Thales provided significant alterations to the line-side cables/communications equipment between Scarborough station and Seamer, which included the installation of new signals post telephones, point zone tele¬phones, lockout telephones and platform telephones along the route, all vital safety-critical systems for the safe and efficient operation of the railway. New equipment rooms were built by Invensys as part of the scheme, and Thales was involved in the installation and commissioning of operational telecoms equipment in these locations.
The second project (Stranton to Hall Deane) was undertaken on the north-east coast, on a 23km stretch of line between Seaton Carew and Ryhope Grange. The work involved resignalling the entire route, which required the closure of four existing signal boxes at Stranton, Clarence Road, Dawdon and Hall Deane. Control of the route was transferred to a refurbished signal box at Ryhope Grange.
New cables (power, telecomms, signalling, fibre and data) were installed into buried channels along the 23km route as this is an area known to be at high risk of vandalism and theft. Thales provided and installed anti-vandal housing units for all line-side communication/telephones, as well as vandal proof cabinets for key cabling along the full route.
Thales’s role also involved the design, supply, installation, testing and commission of a new operational telephone concentrator unit at Ryhope, new CCTV and alarm systems, and the installation of line-side and crossing telephones in secure cabinets. Again this was a major resignalling and modernisation project that will enable Network Rail to introduce new, planned operational efficiencies.
Warrick Dent, area general manager for Network Rail, says: “We have completed signif¬icant investment at both of these locations and both were successfully commissioned. These modernisations will allow us to deliver the excellent service people rightly demand from the railway for many years to come.”
Peter Batley, head of Thales UK’s transportation systems business, says: “These impor¬tant projects demonstrate the investment that is being put into rebuilding the life-expired infrastructure on the UK’s rail network. By helping our customers provide greater capacity and more efficiency, at a lower price we are together modernising and revitalising an ageing railway.”