Thales and GCRE to develop innovative technologies

cost saving rail technologies Thales’ Ground Transportation Systems (GTS) UK and Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on developing the next generation of innovative and cost saving rail technologies that will transform passenger and freight rail services.

The Global Centre of Rail Excellence is a purpose-built rail innovation centre being constructed in South Wales that will provide a site for world class research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and innovative new rail technologies. Construction of the site is due to be completed in 2025.

“At our site we want to work with world class partners who have the skills and knowledge of the new digital technologies and sustainable transport solutions that can support our net zero future. That’s why it’s such a positive step for GCRE to sign this partnership with Thales,” Chief Executive of GCRE Limited Simon Jones, said.

The MoU commits both parties to collaborate on rail infrastructure projects at the GCRE and share information on upcoming opportunities to accelerate the adoption of transformative technologies.

“We are thrilled to have signed this new MoU with GCRE and look forward to working alongside the GCRE team to help create the digital railways of the future at this exciting technology hub in Wales,” Andy Bell, Vice-President of Thales GTS UK said.

GCRE was established in 2021 with an initial commitment of GBP 50 million (EUR 57.6 million) from the Welsh Government. The UK Government is supporting the project with funding for research and development along with capital funding of GBP 20 million (EUR 23 million). GCRE recently launched a major public procurement to attract private funding for the project. Spanning the former Nant Helen opencast site and Onllwyn Washery in South Wales, GCRE will be the UK’s first net zero railway which will also develop cost saving rail technologies in partnership with Thales.

The facility will include two 25KV electrified test loops, one a 6.9 km high speed rolling stock track and the other a 4km ~60km/h infrastructure test track.

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