Network Rail awarded Alstom a GBP 49 million (EUR 59.2 million) contract for the delivery of new signalling level crossings and other assets on the Farncombe – Petersfield railway situated on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth line – the Portsmouth Direct route built more than 150 years ago.
The delivery stages of the project, known as GRIP 5-8, will involve signalling, track and level crossing improvements between 2022 and 2024 and will benefit passengers travelling on the line between Woking and Portsmouth. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic around 40,000 passengers used the line every day, making it one of the busiest commuter routes in the country.
On the Farncombe – Petersfield railway, Alstom will replace the life-expired equipment with its latest technology offering passengers greater reliability and Network Rail improved asset benefit. The project will also provide increased performance, resilience, and much safer access for track workers. In partnership with Network Rail, Alstom and its supply chain the project will renew assets and add digital-ready technologies which include level crossing enhancement for enhanced safety and reliability – 9 level crossings will be replaced including 5 existing automatic half-barrier crossings upgraded to full barrier control, plus 3 footpath crossings installed with stop lights and object controllers.
Alstom will also transfer the control of the area’s signalling from three local signal boxes to Network Rail’s Basingstoke Rail Operating Centre, using its MCS ‘Infinity’ remote signalling control and MAR-S automatic route setting technology.
The digital Smartlock interlockings will be installed which will increase the reliability, performance and capacity and the track circuits will be replaced with axle counters, delivering a 50% power saving across the project area and improved safety for trackside maintenance staff.
The project forms part of the Major Signalling Framework Agreement (MSFA) for the Southern Region which Alstom won in 2020. The French company is collaborating with Network Rail as one “Customer Excellence team” to safely deliver Network Rail’s commitments to passengers and freight users. Alstom is working closely with its supply chain to improve pipeline visibility of future works and recruit new apprentices in a range of technical and project management roles for a diverse and sustainable workforce.