UK: Network Rail has begun the process of appointing a contractor to supply and maintain ETCS Level 2 for the line between Stalybridge near Manchester and Cottingley near Leeds as part of the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade Programme.

The selected contractor would be expected to maintain the ETCS equipment over its anticipated 30-year service life, and would be responsible for upgrading GSM-R systems and providing maintenance during a two-year defects and liability period.

The ETCS is required to integrate with other civil works, track and railway system enhancements on the route. These are being designed by the Transpire alliance of BAM Nuttall, Amey and Arup under the West of Leeds Alliance contract awarded in April 2017. Interlockings and trackside equipment would be provided by other suppliers, with the exception of balises and signage which would be included in the ETCS contract.

The contract may also include provision for Automatic Train Operation at Grade of Automation 2, with trains starting and stopping automatically under the supervision of a driver.

The infrastructure manager envisages inviting four bidders to tender for the contract, which is estimated to be worth between £180·5m and £210·5m. Requests to participate are to be submitted by September 12, with invitations to tender expected to follow by the end of October.

Strategic outcomes

The Department for Transport’s ‘high level strategic outcome’s for the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade Programme require the line to support a Leeds – Manchester Victoria journey time of 44 min with one stop and a York – Manchester Victoria journey time of 67 min with two stops; 92% of trains must arrive at four key stations within 5 min of the scheduled time.

The route must have the capacity to accommodate inter-city trains comprising eight 24 m long vehicles and local services formed of up to six 24 m vehicles.

The Trans-Pennine route was last year designated as a priority project for NR’s digital railway strategy by then Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling.