Signalling upgrade for Eurostar in Ashford International station
28 October 2016

Signalling upgrade for Eurostar in Ashford International station

In Kent, in the United Kingdom, SYSTRA is leading a feasibility study to upgrade signalling on Ashford International Spurs track. The aim is to provide a safe and effective train protection overlay system, enabling the whole Eurostar fleet to stop safely at Ashford International.

An essential upgrade for the quality of service

SYSTRA Ltd and SYSTRA Scott Lister teams are contracted to deliver a feasibility study to investigate the viability of installing a KVB train protection system (Beacon to Vehicle Control) on the tracks between the HS1 high speed line and Ashford International station, called the Ashford Spurs (see the picture above).

2015 saw the introduction of the new Class 374 (e320) Eurostar rolling stock. These trains have an embedded system working with KVB and ETCS (European Train Control System), which is incompatible with the national rail system operated at Ashford. Without a suitable protection system, these trains are currently unable to operate on this section of track.

Déploiement de la signalisation superposée en 2018

SYSTRA have considerable experience of developing the KVB system: the Group has developed the system on HS1 at St Pancras station. The biggest challenge is to develop an overlay protection system that minimises the impact on the existing signalling systems, avoids costly disruption and provides a cost-effective solution.

Stakeholders have agreed that the system should be implemented by February 2018, which would allow Eurostar more flexibility with their operational planning and provides all future Eurostar services with the ability to stop at Ashford International, without impacting on the journey time, or timetable for passengers.

SYSTRA, a major competitor in high-speed in the UK

Ashford International is half-way between London and Folkestone. The construction of the first high-speed line in the country, HS1, led to the station being re-built in 1990 to accommodate international services and Eurostar trains have dedicated platforms.

The UK remains committed to the development of high-speed rail. SYSTRA are currently tendering in a JV with Mott MacDonald, as designers for the Balfour Beatty-VINCI consortia for the £30 billion HS2 Phase 1 Main Civil Works Contracts.

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