Ashford spurs signalling upgrade complete

THE £10 MILLION Ashford Spurs project to enable Eurostar’s new Siemens Class 374 ‘e320’ trains to call at Ashford International station has been completed by Network Rail.

The first ‘374s’ called at the station on 3 April. Eurostar introduced the ‘374s’ in November 2015, but the new trains were not equipped with the correct signalling equipment to use the station, meaning only the original Class 373s could call. The project has seen the KVB (Contrôle de Vitesse par Balises) system installed in the platform roads at Ashford to enable both train types to call; this system is already in use in the international platforms at St Pancras and throughout the French railway network away from high-speed lines. The completion will enable Eurostar to restore its full service from Ashford to Paris.

Various options were explored prior to choosing KVB for the spurs, including fitting the ‘374s’ with Automatic Warning System (AWS) and Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), but this idea was discounted.