UK-based Railtrack and Union Switch & Signal, the US-based affiliate of the Ansaldo Signal Group, have signed a partnering agreement to design, build and install a Network Management Centre (NMC) System, as part of Railtrack’s $8 billion West Coast Route Modernisation program (WCRM).
The NMC will integrate the processes of signalling control, electrification control and operational management. It also will provide key planning and support functions to improve Railtrack’s asset utilisation, as well as computer-based analysis of train delays to enable improvements in train performance. The NMC system is to be located in a purposely built facility in Saltley, Birmingham UK.
Tony Fletcher, WCRM general manager said, ‘I am pleased that US&S and Ansaldo will be playing a key role in this important element of the WCRM program. The agreement is the first stage of a broader initiative which will aim to bring together the Train Control, Conventional Signalling and Network Management elements in the upgrade program.’
The NMC will be implemented in three stages. Stage 1 will focus on the route planner, which provides computer-based management and analysis tools, Stage 2 will computerise dispatching functions, and Stage 3 will integrate Stages 1 and 2. The value of the contract to US&S is in the region of $100 million, with Stage 1 having a potential of $55 million.
To plan, schedule, carry out and manage the development of the NMC system, a Joint Project Team (JPT) of more than 120 Railtrack and US&S employees- as well as the key subcontractors involved in the project – was formed. The formation of the JPT is part of a partnering/alliancing strategy that Railtrack utilises on major projects.