Alstom wins Irish Rail’s Cork Area Commuter Rail contract

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Alstom has been awarded a contract by Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) to revolutionise rail travel and mobility on the Cork Area Commuter Rail (CACR) network. The project, set to enhance the rail service within the Cork metropolitan area, will feature Alstom’s signalling technologies – Smartlock Computer-Based Interlocking (CBI) system and European Train Control System (ETCS).

The CACR project aims to modernise and upgrade 62km of the rail network, stretching from Mallow to Cork, Cobh, and Midleton.

Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership with Irish Rail, stating: “We are excited to embark on this journey, bringing cutting-edge technology to the Cork Area Commuter Rail network. With Smartlock and ETCS, we are confident that this project will set new standards in safety, efficiency, and passenger experience, providing a strong foundation for sustainable mobility in the region.”

Jim Meade, Iarnród Éireann chief executive said: “I commend our Cork Area Commuter Rail team in ensuring that all three elements of the CACR Programme are progressing so swiftly. New signalling, our new platform, and twin-tracking of Glounthaune to Midleton are set to transform the capacity of our Cork Commuter rail network, and position us well to move forward with other rail projects under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, including the critical delivery of new stations.”

At the core of this initiative is Alstom’s Smartlock CBI system. This state-of-the-art technology will serve as the project’s primary foundation, offering a safe, simplified, and maintenance-friendly solution. By directly interfacing with axle counters and trackside objects through SmartIO, the Smartlock system eliminates the need for intermediate relays, ensuring a robust, efficient, and streamlined operation.

In addition to Smartlock interlocking, the project will also feature the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1 trackside technology. ETCS is a train protection system that guarantees enhanced safety, efficiency, and reliability throughout the Greater Cork area. The implementation of ETCS further strengthens the commitment to safety and ensures a smooth, secure, and eco-friendly rail network.

Image credit: Alstom

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