NETWORK RAIL has signed a contract with Siemens Rail Automation to begin installation of European Train Control System (ETCS) in-cab signalling on freight locos. Siemens says the contract covers a 10-year period, with a further 10-year support period to follow.

The ultimate ambition is to equip 745 vehicles, with the initial focus on the heaviest-used types of locomotive. Only this initial stage is funded so far, but pending future funding a wider fleet rollout could follow from 2022, continuing through to Control Period 7 (2024-29). If this is included, NR says the contract is ultimately worth up to £150 million.

Siemens is to install its Trainguard 200 ETCS on-board solution to the locos, which NR says is a proven, lower power and reliable solution featuring Automatic Warning System (AWS) and Train Protection & Warning System (TPWS) functionality.

The Level 2, Baseline 3 system has been chosen to align with NR’s proposals for deploying ETCS under its Digital Railway programme. Siemens and NR will provide support to freight operators, with around 2,400 drivers set to require additional training on using the system. NR expects the programme to involve more than 150 skilled engineering jobs across the UK, with installation teams based at the Holgate (York) and Eastleigh depots. Siemens’ subsequent support for each freight operator will begin on acceptance of the ETCS installation on their first fleet vehicle.