ARGOS, the EUR 1 billion project, enjoys the implication of companies such as Alstom, Ansaldo STS, Siemens and Thales and aims to develop a new generation of computer-controlled interlocking.
In this new partnership, railway companies are working with SNCF Réseau’s engineers, in Paris, in four different teams, each having the mission of issuing technical proposals that would be analysed by SNCF in 2019. The selected teams will have to build models to prove the technical and economic validity of their projects. Then, in 2020, a final design will be selected for the first generation of interlocking systems that will be operational as of 2023.
SNCF says they want to raise the technical and economic standards for the new-generation interlocking and have, therefore, set three major objectives: reducing with 15% the budget for acquisitions, maintenance and future modernisation; reducing costs, staff and the execution deadline for placing in service the new interlocking systems to limit traffic impact and improve the general performance of new equipment with better information security, maintenance and operation.
The project benefits from a EUR 1 billion financing and will be carried out on a period of 15 years. The companies involved in the partnership will also benefit from these funds. The EUR 1 billion are part of a much bigger budget allocation, worth EUR 7 billion, on a period of 15 years as well, through which SNCF plans to renew its signalling equipment.
Thus, SNCF Réseau will install 15 computer-controlled interlocking systems every year. In this way, the French railway infrastructure manager will replace the old, electro-mechanical systems. Also, EUR 300 million will be invested every year.
The four teams are:
-Ansaldo STS with Systra and Eiffage
-Siemens with SafeRail and Est Signalisation
-Thales with Engie Ineo and Vossloh