The Thameslink rail network connects London’s northern and southern suburban systems via a central section at the heart of the city, and is one of Europe’s busiest rail routes. The Thameslink Programme was created to increase the capacity of this network, mainly boosting the capacity of the bottleneck composed of the central Thameslink section and also London Bridge. To do this, longer trains were brought in and service frequency was increased, using ETCS Level 2.
The Thameslink Programme is being carried out by Network Rail in association with major railway manufacturers such as Siemens Rail Automation. Work started in 2009, and is expected to be completed in 2018.
Siemens RA is involved in several tasks to develop this high-performance infrastructure; one such project is installation of ERTMS level 2, a vital component of which is the production of data for RBC and balises. On the strength of its extensive experience with ERTMS, since 2016 CITEF has been working with Siemens RA as an independent verifier of ETCS data, monitoring each data generation phase and ensuring that the information obtained meets the safety requisites which are mandatory for the project.
The latest milestone on the Thameslink Programme was the launch of the first automatic-operation ERTMS train on 26 March 2018. This is a Siemens Class 700 unit, driven in ATO mode between St Pancras International and London Blackfriars.