Siemens Rail Automation Successfully Commissions Major Projects

Posted by Barry Pearson on February 6, 2014  |   Comments Off on Siemens Rail Automation Successfully Commissions Major Projects

Over the last eight weeks, Siemens Rail Automation has successfully commissioned a number of high profile schemes, including projects at London Bridge, Reading, Victoria and GNGE.

Following three days of intense activity, a new train describer (TD) was signed in to use at London Bridge Station on 8 December, the work representing the final contract milestone for the Thameslink programme in 2013. With over 900 berths this is the largest TD that the company has ever supplied, the equipment being installed two months prior to the commissioning and then pre-tested in November.

The Victoria Interlocking Renewal Project, which is also critical to Thameslink delivery (Victoria will be the diversionary station for some of the London Bridge stages), was commissioned on Friday 27 (Eastern) and Saturday 28 (Central) December. The project enabled the wire-degraded, life-expired geographical route relay interlockings at Victoria relay room to be replaced by three relay-interfaced Trackguard WESTLOCK computer-based interlockings at Victoria Area Signalling Centre. Although this scheme primarily encompassed interlocking renewal, the commissioning also covered a variety of signalling infrastructure improvements – including the replacement of life-expired signals and route indicators with LED equivalents and the addition of two new remote technicians’ terminals at Victoria and East Croydon.

On Monday 30 December at 23:30 (more than three hours ahead of the planned time), the signalling system was signed back into use at the Thames Valley Signalling Centre, signifying the successful commissioning of Stage J of the Reading re-signalling programme. This was the third of five major re-signalling phases in the Reading Station Area Remodelling programme, its scope covering the re-signalling of the Oxford Road and Southcote Junction areas to the south of Reading station. Control of the existing Trackguard WESTLOCK spur interlocking was expanded by the addition of two new trackside interfaces (TIFs) to cover the re-signalled area, completing the Southern link between Reading Station and the Basingstoke and Theale fringes. As part of the work, train detection was largely converted to axle counters, the majority of signals were converted to lightweight units and point remote condition monitoring added throughout. The work was critical to allow other contractors access for completion of the viaduct build and to create the new track alignment in preparation for the final two major phases of the redevelopment programme.

On the Great Northern Great Eastern (GNGE) programme, after a fourteen day blockade, Phase 1 of the signalling programme was successfully commissioned on 3 January 2014, the railway being signed back into operational use at 19:12 hours. GNGE Phase 1 covered the re-signalling of the route between the northern fringe with Gainsborough Trent Junction signal box and the southern fringe with Lincoln West solid state interlocking – with control for this area transferred to the Lincoln Signalling Control Centre (LSCC). For the area north of Gainsborough Trent Junction, signalling remains under the control of Beckingham and Doncaster.

The commissioning followed the successful hangar testing of the Phase 1 Modular Signalling equipment at Siemen’s Chippenham facility and its subsequent installation during July and August 2013. The adoption of a modular signalling solution for this scheme has already delivered real benefits, with the use of hangar testing delivering greatly reduced testing times and enabling testing to be undertaken in factory-controlled conditions. The use of data templating, another key element of the modular approach, also brings significant time savings to the overall programme. The project team also commissioned a new Modular Signalling solution for a number of level crossings, including Sykes Lane, Saxilby and Kesteven – all of which have now been converted to manually controlled barrier with object detection (MCB-OD) operation – and Stow Park, which has been converted to MCB-CCTV controlled operation. As a result of the work, Saxilby and Stow Park signal boxes and Sykes Lane gate box have all been decommissioned.

Commenting on the commissioning programme, Paul Copeland, Managing Director of Siemens Rail Automation UK said: “The winter commissioning period is often a particularly busy one and this year’s was no exception, with a variety of technical, logistical and meteorological challenges for our teams to face. However a recurring theme across all the commissionings and one of the critical factors in our successful delivery, was the extremely positive impact that our close working relationship with colleagues in Network Rail had on the programmes. We’re looking forward to continuing this work throughout 2014 and in to Control Period 5”.