“This investment is a significant and important step towards a Norwegian railway revolution.”
Norway is to carry out a country-wide overhaul of its rail signalling over the next two decades, after it signed a deal to purchase technology from Thales based on a European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). Part of a overall plan to provide “environmental, social and economic benefits”, the Scandinavian country’s national operator, Bane NOR, has made the move in order to make journeys more punctual, more comfortable and to create mass appeal among passengers.
Norway’s state-of-the-art signalling system, which is billed as including the world’s first Traffic Management System (TMS), will be futureproofed to be able to cope with the network as it expands and needs evolve over the next 25 years. The country’s current signalling infrastructure is less reliable that the incoming system promises and is more difficult to maintain that the latest computer-driven systems.
According to the 2017 European Railway Performance Index, Norway was ranked as a Tier Two country in its three-tier grading system, putting the country in the same division as Great Britain, Spain and the Netherlands. Calculated on performance related to intensity of use, safety and quality of service, Bane NOR achieved an overall rating of 4.9 out of 10 – 13th out of 25 European rail companies.
No details on the cost of the Bane NOR programme have been released by Thales, but the French company has said in an official statement that the ERTMS-style network will include support, maintenance and cyber-security services that will be engineered to make the most of Norway’s infrastructure and also raise capacity. Based on its Aramis system, @thalesgroup said the nation’s rail freight would also benefit from the newly-mobilised network. Aramis is already in use in 17 countries including Germany, Austria, Portugal, Denmark and the UK and controls in the region of 50,000 trains on a daily basis.
Millar Crawford, Thales executive vice president for transportation systems, said: “As a driving force of digitalisation, Thales is grateful to help @BaneNORSF fulfil their mission. This investment is a significant and important step towards a Norwegian railway revolution.”
In related news, neighbours Sweden announced late last year that it would also be upgrading its signalling system, taking on Bombardier to install its Interflo 450 control network. Approved for use in December 2017, by Swedish Transport Administration, Trafikverket, and the Transport Agency, Transportstyrelsen, Interflo 450 will implemented across the country’s 6,800-mile mainline rail network.
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