Network Rail’s £4bn train control systems framework to revolutionise signalling across Britain: Removal of old signals

Wednesday 10 Apr 2024

Network Rail’s £4bn train control systems framework to revolutionise signalling across Britain

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From Carlisle to Brighton, Network Rail’s £4bn, 10-year signalling plan will change the face of Britain’s railway, with modern equipment bringing greater reliability across the country through a mixture of traditional signalling and digital control.

Six companies have been awarded contracts for the provision of conventional and digital signalling services under its Train Control Systems Framework. The framework runs from 2024 until 2034 and is worth £4bn (£3bn = digital signalling and £1bn = conventional signalling).

The contracts have been awarded over two lots:  

Lot 1: Conventional signalling

  • Alstom
  • AtkinsRealis
  • Hitachi
  • Siemens

Lot 2 – Digital signalling (using European Train Control System technology)

  • Alstom
  • AtkinsRealis and CAF
  • Siemens
  • Thales and VolkerRail

The Train Control Systems framework replaces the previous major signalling frameworks and has been designed to bring new ways of working between Network Rail and its signalling delivery partners.

Clive Berrington, Network Rail’s Group Commercial & Procurement director said: “Our new train control systems framework brings a positive change in approach to how we work with suppliers for the provision of signalling services. We will all be working much more collaboratively with each other and our relationships will feel like partnerships.

“Through the framework, we have grown the size of the UK signalling market with the introduction of two new suppliers. These bring increased diversity and capability, leading to better market performance. We’ve also brought improved visibility of our workbank for our partners which will enable them to invest in skills and innovation which will benefit the rail industry.

“We have set ourselves up well to deliver improved performance for passengers and freight customers, and improved value for taxpayers.”

As well as greater collaboration between Network Rail and its partners, another change is the way partners will be selected and awarded work. The new Network Rail Allocation Group will match partners to signalling projects based on a range of factors. This approach will help to reduce peaks and troughs of workloads for the partners.

Among the initial signalling projects set to be delivered under the framework are:

  • Midlands Rail Hub
  • Digital signalling for the TransPennine Route Upgrade
  • Digital signalling for the TriLink Programme

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About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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