Network Rail has awarded the first contracts for a new nationwide traffic management system for the UK railways.
The traffic management system is set to help replace 800 signal boxes with 12 state-of-the-art rail operating centres over the next 15-30 years.
Once fully implemented, Network Rail says the system will cut the cost of running Britain’s railways by £250m each year, as well as improve industry efficiency, reduce delays, and provide more accurate and timely information to staff and passengers.
Contracts worth a combined £28.8m 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 who have 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 will control the railway in the future.
An additional contract for traffic management development, delivery and support has been awarded to the Signalling Solutions partnership worth £3.4m, with completion scheduled for December 2015 too. Signalling Solutions is a joint venture between Alstom Transport and Balfour Beatty Rail.
Hitachi Rail Europe also bid for the work but lost out. It, along with other firms, will be able to bid for future traffic management contracts Network Rail is currently planning for other parts of the country.