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Image shows the Hitachi ETCS simulator.

“In terms of technical clarifi cation discussions, we’ve had telephone conferences with the groundside system specialists in Paris, and they’ve been very supportive and provided assistance through Network Rail. We worked collaboratively with Network Rail to make sure we got everything right before we actually turned on our equipment. We knew how it was going to perform, to avoid unforeseen problems.”

Testing and driver training

Hitachi kept its protected night-time paths for its testing until the end of July, plus still expects to offer demonstrations to senior people in the industry so they can “experience the Hitachi operation and system reliability”.

Tomlin explained:

“We’re at the mid- point at the moment and we’ve had some fantastic success with the connection and operation through the radio network.”

He also praised the quality of the balise communication and said the air-gap interface is working well. “We’re very much looking forward to fi nishing off our testing over the coming weeks.”

Network Rail has a contract with DB Schenker for the ETCS drivers required for this type of locomotive, Tomlin said. “It’s been a case of collaboratively working with Network Rail to ensure there are drivers at the right time to deliver our test programme.

“We’ve had good engagement with DB

Schenker, who have been feeding operational and driveability comments back to us.

“This is the fi rst time the drivers have actually seen a different system in the cab, as well. We’ve got a separate driver acknowledgement button to acknowledge any safety-related data on the DMI screen. That’s been a new thing for the drivers to learn, and it’s been accepted very well.”

Risk mitigation

The night-time tests have ensured there is the least possible risk of any impact on passenger operations. Tomlin said: “That’s been an important part of the test programme with Network Rail, to understand what the risk is of bringing another


onto the network and ensuring those risks are mitigated correctly.

“You could get drop-outs – system failures or crashes – but we haven’t experienced any of that as part of this testing, which Network Rail are pleased with. The entire Cambrian line system has operated very well and remained stable during the testing.”

ERTMS roll-out

The potential customers for Hitachi’s technology include the owners and operators of virtually every rail vehicle on the network, Tomlin said: ROSCOs, freight operators, Network Rail and its National Delivery Service (NDS), heritage companies, and so on. “There’s a whole wave of engineering and tendering coming up as we speak, and we’re actively

Tomlin discussed the national programme to roll out ETCS/ERTMS, fi rstly on the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line – the two lines that Hitachi’s new rolling stock under the IEP will be running on, in fact.

The GWML system is to be overlaid, retaining traditional signals for unfi tted trains, by 2018, while parts of the ECML are to undergo a full ETCS groundside conversion with the signals removed, necessitating in-cab signalling.

“That is from 2019,” Tomlin said, “therefore, any rolling stock wanting to run on the portion of fi tted line will need to have on-board ETCS.

“Hence the reason that, over the last year, there’s been a lot of communications and people waking up to the fact that ETCS is becoming the day-job.”

Tomlin said the potential benefi ts are huge, from train operation and reliability to reducing lineside infrastructure and so both cost and the potential for theft and vandalism.

“It’s about transferring systems on board the train and reaping the benefi ts of that,” he said. TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

rail technology magazine Aug/Sep 13 | 67

engaged with some of that at the moment.”

He added: “For us, the success of this project feeds into our rolling stock projects – for instance IEP – and potentially other projects that we’re working on at the moment.

“But also, the future of V-Train 3 is to retain the equipment on the train. The end goal is to fi nish the trial and to achieve the safety approvals that we need.”

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