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New signalling for Devon and Cornwall

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The Devon and Cornwall re-signalling programme, due for completion in late 2023, will provide better connectivity for the South West and a more reliable service for passengers, with improved maintainability and lower costs for the operator.

Network Rail has contracted Siemens Mobility to supply a modular, network-based solution, replacing the existing signalling infrastructure.

The use of digital technology, together with simple bases and lightweight structures, means the embodied carbon in the scheme, and in turn the cost, will be significantly lower than conventional schemes.

The modular components use flexible power sources and are interconnected using Ethernet-based networking, with plug-and-play wiring allowing fast and accurate interconnections to be made.

In addition, using Siemens Mobility’s ‘hangar’ testing unit in Chippenham, fewer people will be required on site and ‘right first time’ delivery will be assured. As a result, the time on site is significantly reduced, increasing safety and ensuring that the impact on the railway and its neighbours is also kept to a minimum during upgrades.

Rob Morris, Siemens Mobility.

Rob Morris, Siemens Mobility’s managing director for rail infrastructure, said: “We identified our Trackguard Westrace-based solution, building on its successful implementation on the North Wales Coast project, as the most appropriate for this scheme. The project team is now looking forward to further developing and designing the detailed solution before progressing to site next year.

“By deploying our low-cost, network-based system, we will be using templated designs and standardised components. With most of the testing carried out in a safe and controlled environment, digital schemes like this enable us to upgrade the railway more safely, quickly and sustainably.”

As well as installation of all signalling equipment, Siemens Mobility will be supplying its Controlguide Westcad control system at Exeter power signal box (PSB) for Cornwall, and at Plymouth PSB for Devon, as well as taking responsibility for all telecommunications; power distribution and civil engineering works required for the new equipment.

Two level crossings feature in the scheme, one of which will be converted to CCTV operation and the second to a manually controlled barrier with obstacle detection.

Siemens Mobility will be responsible for delivering the project from GRIP 4 stage (single option selection) through to GRIP 8 (project close out). Work is now underway, with the first major programme milestone being the completion of the GRIP 4 stage towards the end of 2021.

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