December 3, 2022

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Digitally first class

Hitachi to deploy digital signalling tech on French rail network

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Rolling stock manufacturer Hitachi Rail has secured a contract from SNCF Réseau for the delivery of digital signalling infrastructure to upgrade the railway network in France.

Under the framework agreement, the company will develop and install a new generation of wayside European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) Radio Block Centres (RBC).

The RBC Argos deployment is anticipated to significantly enhance the capacity of the rail network besides improving the regularity of trains. This equipment will be installed over the coming few years.

Designed by Hitachi Rail, the RBC will be connected to the Argos digital platform under the SNCF Réseau’s new ERTMS Argos Computer Based Interlocking project.

By mid-2025, the new platform will be tested on a pilot line of around 16km between Cannes and Grasse in the south of France.

Later, it will be installed on the Marseille-Vintimille route. At the end of 2027, the first section is expected to begin service.

Since 2018, Hitachi Rail has been part of the Argos programme. It intends to digitalise the interlocking systems across the railway network in France.

Hitachi Rail STS France CEO Gilles Pascault said: “This new contract builds on an historical partnership with SNCF, based on mutual trust and on the innovation capability of the Hitachi Rail group to support SNCF’s ambitions towards delivering a smarter and more sustainable mobility.

“With this contract Hitachi Rail, supplier of wayside ERTMS for the High Speed Lines, becomes supplier of wayside ERTMS for the overall national rail network, for the coming years.”

Earlier this month, Hitachi Rail won a contract from Tågåkeriet I Bergslagen to install ERTMS digital signalling technology on its Scandinavian rail network.

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