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Railhub Archive
2003-04-08 NET-001
Network Rail


New signalling system commissioned on West Coast Main Line

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Cheadle Hume
West Coast Main Line modernisation
West Coast Main Line

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Network Rail

New signalling system commissioned on West Coast Main Line

8 April 2003
source Network Rail
type Press release

North West & West Midlands

Manchester is helping lead the way in the development of the UK’s rail network, with the introduction of a revolutionary new signalling system in the Manchester area.The modernisation plans for the West Coast Main Line delivered a first for the UK rail network with the successful commissioning of a signalling system in the North West.

The new “ACC” signalling system is the first computer based interlocking to be introduced to the UK and will operate and control the signalling around Cheadle Hulme, south of Manchester, helping toit will improve capacity, provide improvedincreased safety, allow better management of railway traffic and improve maintenance of the infrastructure.

Network Rail, in alliance with AMEC Spie, WS Atkins and Ansaldo Segnalamento Ferroviario, hasve worked to design, develop and install the signalling system, which has currently taken over the role of the Cheadle Hulme signal box, but has the operational capacity to control train movements stretching as far south as Sandbach and Wilmslow.

The ACC system is located at the Manchester South Signalling Control Centre at Edgeley, Stockport. Of similar design to a signalling system successfully introduced into Rome three years ago, the new Computer Based Interlocking (CBI) system consists of a central interlocking unit and signaller workstations, while the man machine part of the system consists of rear projectors, flat screens and functional keyboards. The new technology is also represented by a dichroic mirror signal head (of Italian design) and T72 point machine (unique to the UK) and VCC locking mechanism.

Commented James Martin, Project Director, for the West Coast Route Modernisation: , ““This is the culmination of more than three years work across the industry to introduce the first modern, computer based signalling system into the country, bringing technology onto the UK railway equal to the best in Europe””.

The computer based technology has certainly been welcomed by Tim Clarke, Regional Director for Network Rail, whose team is now operating the new system from a purpose built state of the art signaling centre at Edgeley. Said Tim: “The renewal of the signalling assets in this area is critical to both the zone's ability to manage the railway system and to our delivery to the train operators and passengers using the network.

“It represents the critical step on the road to the future of signalling for both the North West and Network Rail as a whole, and is a tremendous achievement for all involved in the planning, construction and delivery of the project.”

Added Chris Thompson, Atkins Rail’s Director of Control and Systems: “Since early 2002, when Atkins Rail was invited to provide engineering, approvals, and testing leadership as part of the new Route 7 Alliance, the company has played an influential role in driving this critical element of the WCRM programme through to completion. The team spirit forged with all the Alliance partners has also played a crucial role.”

The Ansaldo organisation is justly proud of its achievements and Maurizio Rosi, head of ASF UK branch commented: “We are really proud that the major challenge of tailoring our ACC system for use in the UK has been successful.”

Added Tony Glazebrook, Director of Business Development, Ansaldo Signal UK: “In a challenging safety environment, this is a great achievement for Ansaldo and all those involved.”

Contact information

Media Relations (North West & West Midlands)
0161 880 3142

Railhub Archive ::: 2003-04-08 NET-001


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