A partnership of Thales and London Underground delivers further success on Northern Line upgrade

17 July 2013  •  Source: Thales

A major upgrade to the Northern Line has achieved its next milestone, with the line from Highgate to High Barnet now controlled by Thales’s SelTrac® Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signalling system. The 8 km section of the line was brought in on time and on budget, and is the result of two years’ close collaboration and a ‘one team’ approach by Thales and London Underground.

The state-of-the-art SelTrac CBTC system, which automatically controls train movements on the line and replaces the existing forty-year-old legacy signalling, has so far performed extremely well. All 106 of the Northern Line trains have been fitted with the system, which includes a new display in the cab and a new interface for the train operators. All the train operators have now received training on using the SelTrac system and are using the new system as they move through the first two operational sections.

The ‘one team’ approach to the project has proved particularly successful. Project managers from Thales have been located alongside those from London Underground, working as a single team on everything from defining the user requirements and the design scope to the detailed management of installation and testing works.

Stuart Harvey, Programme Director for Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines at London Underground, said, “Work on the Northern Line upgrade is progressing well, and the team is united in its focus to complete the programme in 2014. Once completed, people using the Northern Line will see huge improvements to reliability and journey times will be reduced by 18 per cent.”

“The close working relationship of Thales and London Underground has certainly been one of the hallmarks of this project so far,” said Alistair McPhee, head of Thales UK’s transport business. “The joint team, with better access to the key experts on site, is more effective and quicker at resolving the technical issues. We also see this enhanced customer focus making a big difference in the way the teams interact with those who will use the system, the train operators and control centre staff. Their early feedback on the system’s ease-of-use and reliability has been very positive,” he said.

The Northern Line is London’s busiest Tube line. When the upgrade is complete, it will be able to carry an extra 11,000 passengers per hour. The successful commissioning of the first two sections means that the programme is on schedule to commission the whole line into SelTrac CBTC operation in 2014.

This milestone on Northern Line upgrade follows the successful delivery of SelTrac CBTC for the Jubilee Line. Thales SelTrac CBTC system operates on over 1,300 km of track in 30 major urban centres around the world, carrying an estimated 3 billion passengers annually. Thales is the world leader in CBTC solutions.

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