Thameslink is a £6bn project to enhance a north-south route that through central London and into surrounding commuter suburbs as far as Cambridgeshire to the north and to Brighton on the south coast.
The full ten-year programme of works will introduce longer trains, resolve notorious network bottlenecks and rebuild major stations such as Farringdon, Blackfriars and London Bridge.
The work has also required electrification work and a significant level of re-signalling. The latter included the implementation of ETCS Level 2 on the central section and also the deployment of an Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system to further improve the flow of trains, especially during peak periods.
Ricardo first performed work for Thameslink on NoBo issues as early as 2008 on ‘Key Stage 0’, but our recent NoBo/DeBo activity commenced in 2013 providing support to Network Rail as to how the Interoperability Regulations should be implemented, before also eventually becoming the Assessment Body looking at compliance of the safety work to the risk management requirements under the CSM-REA Regulation.
The signalling and train protection system on Thameslink involves both UK traditional systems, Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) and Automatic Warning System (AWS), with conventional interlocking arrangements, and now more modern European solutions, in ETCS, with RBCs on the trackside, which use the local GSM-R network (which was required to be enhanced), to send data messages to the Thameslink trains.
The transition areas between the different signalling systems have provided some interesting issues with regards to operational performance and compliance with both UK National Standards and TSIs.
Ricardo has consistently worked with the programme providing the Independent Assurance Services they require through to May 2019, when the implementation of the signalling and GSM-R systems on the final section - the East-West Extension from London Bridge station to the South Eastern Lines - which entered into service in 2019 to complete the ECTS trackside implementation. Since then, our support has continued to address later updates.
In addition to this infrastructure work, Ricardo Certification BV (our entity based in the Netherlands) has also provided Notified Body Services, Assessment Body and UK Designated Body services to Siemens for their onboard ETCS equipment which is fitted to the Thameslink rolling stock.