Class 43 New Measurement Train

UK: Thales and leasing company Porterbrook have announced the successful retrofitting of three Class 43 HST power cars with ETCS onboard equipment complying with UNISIG baseline B3R2.

ETCS Fitment to Class 43

Following successful ETCS Level 2 Testing at Network Rail’s Melton Rail Innovation & Development Centre over the last two weeks, preparation is underway for full testing with Approval to Place Into Service expected by the end of the year.

Porterbrook is the lead rolling stock leasing company for retrofitting Class 43s with ETCS under the National Joint ROSCO Programme, funded by the Department for Transport through Network Rail and supported by Angel Trains, Eversholt Rail and First Rail Holdings. It awarded Thales the first-in-class design and installation contract in 2018.

The three Class 43 power cars involved are used with Network Rail’s New Measurement Train, which carries out infrastructure monitoring work across the network. As such, fitting ETCS onboard equipment is a priority to enable continued data recording on the East Coast Main Line and elsewhere as ETCS is rolled out.

‘Successful testing of Thales ETCS equipment is a major milestone, and we are delighted that the New Measurement Train will continue to operate on the East Coast once conventional signals are removed as we move to ETCS Level 2’, said Ben Ackroyd, Chief Operating Officer at Porterbrook, on May 31. ‘This project is a key part of the rollout of the Digital Railway’.

Mark Newill, Head of On-board Portfolio at Thales, said ‘this milestone proves Thales’s capability to modify existing cabs with the new digital in-cab system so they can be ETCS-compatible. The multiple stakeholders involved worked collaboratively to get us to the point where we can trial the system on an operational track.’