Siemens Successfully Commissions Banbury Resignalling Programme

Posted by Barry Pearson on August 25, 2016  |   Comments Off on Siemens Successfully Commissions Banbury Resignalling Programme

Following two years’ initial design work and eighteen months’ detailed design and construction, a team of over 300 staff and subcontractors from Siemens Rail Automation worked in shifts around the clock over a nine-day blockade, successfully commissioning the final stage of the Banbury Resignalling programme ahead of schedule at 02:33am on Monday 8 August.

From briefings on 29 July to project commissioning on 8 August, the team worked in close collaboration with Network Rail and its contractor partners to enable Chilterns trains to enter the newly-built ‘super depot’.

During the course of the programme, Siemens has renewed all life-expired signalling equipment on a 35-kilometre section of the Chiltern main Line – from just north of Leamington Spa on the Dorridge and Kenilworth lines, to Aynho Junction and Heyford in the south – and for all stations between Banbury and Heyford.

Two Siemens Trackguard Westlock computer-based interlocking systems have replaced the decommissioned equipment, with operation of the signalling areas previously controlled by Banbury North and Banbury South signal boxes transferred to a single workstation at the West Midlands Signalling Centre (WMSC). The remaining signalling control functions at Leamington Spa Signalling Centre have also been transferred to the WMSC.

The project has enabled improved headways between Banbury and Aynho Junction and more than 50 new LED signals and associated structures have been installed, which now provide a highly reliable, low maintenance, energy-efficient solution.

The introduction of predominantly four-aspect signal sections between Banbury and Aynho Junction and three-aspect signal sections between Heyford and Aynho will enable a greater throughput of trains to operate through the area.

Improved passenger safety has been achieved through the fitment of train protection warning system equipment and continuous axle-counter-based track circuit blocks have been installed, replacing the previous track circuits. As a result, train detection is now continuous throughout the re-signalled area – including the previously un-detected sidings and loops.

Commenting on completion of the blockade, Siemens’ Project Manager, Stuart Hamilton said: “The combined Network Rail and Siemens team worked extremely well across all disciplines throughout the project, with great working relationships and a wonderful team spirit. The project also provided fantastic personal developmental and experiential opportunities for many of the team members, which were eagerly taken.

“The programme was managed to enable a safe, timely and successful delivery, culminating in a smooth commissioning at the end of the blockade.”

Elgan Davies, Network Rail’s Programme Manager said: “This project has been a great example of collaboration between three of Network Rail’s key suppliers, all working to a single purpose to achieve right-time handback of this challenging programme of work, all undertaken in a safe manner. I am very pleased, as from concept to commissioning, this project has been textbook delivery.”

Siemens Rail Automation is a global leader in the design, supply, installation and commissioning of track-side and train-borne signalling and train control solutions. Its portfolio includes train control, interlocking systems, operations control systems, components, track vacancy detection, level-crossing protection, rail communications, cab radios, station systems and cargo automation for both passenger and freight rail operators.

Siemens employs over 14,000 people in the UK, with 1,650 people working in the Rail Automation division from offices in Chippenham, London, Croydon, Poole, Birmingham, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Manchester, York, Glasgow, Newport and Derby. For more information, visit