Siemens consortium wins €510m Spain signalling deal

A Siemens/Thales consortium has won a €510 million contract from Spanish Track Authority ADIF to install and maintain signalling, train control and communications systems on the 340km Olmedo-Ourense high-speed line.

Siemens will provide interlockings, Spain’s ASFA train control system and control centres, with Thales supplying European Train Control System Level 2 equipment, LED colour light signals, wheel detectors and axle counters, and fixed communications equipment.

The route connects with the Madrid to Valladolid high-speed line at Olmeda and forms part of a corridor connecting Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castile and Leon with Madrid.

Signalling news this week – ETCS for ICEs, and South Africa signs Gauteng upgrade deal

With less than four weeks until the end of the year, two major new signalling and train control announcements have been made in Germany and South Africa.

DB is inviting tenders for the equipment of ICE1 power cars with onboard ETCS equipment. Credit: DB

DB is inviting tenders for the equipment of ICE1 power cars with onboard ETCS equipment. Credit: DB

Deutsche Bahn – a railway whose enthusiasm for European Train Control System has been rather muted compared with its neighbours – is inviting tenders to fit ETCS onboard equipment to 80 ICE1 Electric Multiple Unit power cars with a potential option for a further 38 to be fitted. Although DB’s use of ETCS is relatively small, the ICE1s operate extensively to Switzerland and Austria, which are both rolling out the signalling system nationally.

Siemens, meanwhile, is to install new signalling and train control systems in the Gauteng region of South Africa in a €180 million contract to be finished by 2018. Having already installed up to date signalling on a quarter of the Gauteng network, it will now install 83 Trackguard Sicas S7 interlockings, Clearguard ACM 200 axle counting equipment, and a track vacancy detection system to determine whether track sections are clear. It’s the latest in a series of South African deals for Siemens, which has also won contracts from Transnet Freight Rail to upgrade the 860km Orex iron-ore line with Trackguard Sicas S7 interlockings.

A new form of Air Traffic Control?

Siemens used a helicopter to fly in signal poles on the Hanover-Uelzen route upgrade.

Siemens used a helicopter to fly in signal poles on the Hanover-Uelzen route upgrade.

Siemens is flying in signals by helicopter on the Hanover-Uelzen route upgrade in a bid to cut the number of engineering possessions needed. With installations carefully timed between trains, airlifting the signals in to place has meant no interruption to services on the route, which has seen the first batch of 90 signals successfully installed.

With work continuing, the next major stage is the start of construction of the new electronic interlocking secondary control centre in Celle, with five new remote interlockings being installed from August. The aim is to replace the existing relay based systems by 2017, and commissioning of the control centre is expected in Q2/3 2014.

The interlockings will control points and signals in fully electronic mode and monitor all train movements on the track. The new interlocking technology will be controlled from the district control office in Hanover.

Siemens-Invensys Rail acquisition will be good for rail

Now that the European Commission has approved Siemens’ USD 2.8 billion takeover of Invensys Rail, we can properly assess the potential of this deal and its impact on railway signalling overall. We should point out that this is very much a personal opinion on the acquisition, and in no way reflects the views of anyone in either company.

Over the past 13 years I’ve reported on signalling developments and projects from both companies and seen their strengths in operation first hand. Siemens and Invensys Rail share a policy of innovation, technical excellence and have consistently delivered on their promises. And I think that Siemens’ acquisition of Invensys Rail is a very good move for both companies for three reasons.

Firstly, Invensys Rail’s product portfolio complements Siemens very neatly. The company’s interlockings, CBTC and ERTMS offerings have very little overlap with those of Siemens, filling slightly different niches and needs. Its LYRA ERTMS onboard equipment, for example, represents a genuine breakthrough in minimising the space required for retro-fitment in particular, and its range of interlocking equipment is future-proof, service proven and extremely reliable – to name two high-profile examples.

Secondly, the markets each company serves are different. Invensys Rail has historically been particularly strong in the United Kingdom, Spain and Australasia – and has made huge inroads into the increasingly lucrative Middle Eastern region. Of course Siemens has a presence in these regions but it won’t be cannibalising its own biggest markets.

Finally, Siemens will give Invensys Rail’s products the global scale and reach to bring their undoubted benefits to many more countries. With Siemens’  operations worldwide it will be more feasible than ever to establish Invensys Rail’s best products without the cost of setting up new offices and bid teams.

The details of how Siemens will integrate Invensys Rail are – obviously – unclear at this early stage, but given the harmony between the two companies’ ranges, it’s almost impossible to conclude other than that the signalling sector, and railways all over the world could benefit hugely from the acquisition.

Morocco awards HSR signalling contract

An artist's impression of an ONCF high-speed train

An artist’s impression of an ONCF high-speed train.

Our friends at International Railway Journal report that Moroccan State Railways (ONCF) has signed a €120 million contract with Ansaldo STS and Cofely Ineo to design and supply ERTMS Level 1 and 2 signalling, telecommunications and train control systems for the country’s 183km Tangiers-Kenitra high-speed railway.

The massive project is due to be complete in 2015 and is based on infrastructure and rolling stock technology already proven in operation in France.

TCDD continues signalling improvements

Turkish State Railway (TCDD’s) ambitious enhancement programme continues with the announcement of Invensys Rail as the signalling supplier for the Hasanbey Logistics Centre in North West Turkey.

The fit-out looks comprehensive, with Invensys Rail providing Westrace electronic interlockings, train detection systems, LED lineside signals, point machines and heaters, plus anciliary equipment and buildings and training.

Invensys Rail wins in Oslo

Invensys Rail has won a £10.6 million contract to design, supply, install, test and provide commissioning support for new and expanded signalling on Oslo’s T-bane metro network.

The biggest project will see Invensys Rail undertake work on the new Lørenbane, which links the Ringbane and Grorudbane lines, with new signalling and modifications to existing infrastructure and the signalling control centre at Tøyen forming the bulk of the work. Completion is due in December 2015.

Invensys Rail is also undertaking enhancements on the Kolsåsbanen between Gjønnes and Aviøs, with these works due to be completed at the end of 2013.

For more information, the press release is here.