škoda 2024

First Class 66 with ETCS

posted on 17th May 2024 07:44

On 26 April 2024 the first locomotive of Class 66, the Britain’s principal freight fleet, to be fitted with digital signalling equipment was moved on to dynamic testing, having successfully progressed through static testing. 

DB Cargo locomotive 66 039 is the ‘First in Class’ to be retrofitted with ETCS OBU. With the fitment at the Progress Rail depot in Doncaster complete, it was hauled to Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) in Leicestershire. RIDC is ready equipped for ETCS testing and the locomotive will be put through its paces on the test track in the coming weeks.

This marks a step forward towards hundreds of freight locomotives being equipped for ‘next generation’ digital signalling. Within a competitive sector, all freight operators in the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) have come together to share learnings and agree the base design with Siemens Mobility which is providing the design and fitment of its ETCS Trainguard 200 on-board equipment onto the locomotives. This reflects ECDP’s partnership model of a benefits-led approach where partner operators collaborate on design.

The process has taken 16 months from the start of retrofitting, reflecting the painstaking collaboration involved as the industry has come together to deliver the first of its kind. Overall, the design and installation for the Class 66 has taken four years, which shows the level of complexity in a retro fitment project of this scale. 66 039 will now undergo dynamic testing at RIDC and after that it will accumulate 5,000 miles of fault free running before going through the necessary regulatory approvals.

The time invested in the prototype ETCS retrofit will serve to enable an ongoing fitment programme. The base design involved will eventually provide regulatory approval for all types of Class 66 and its sister fleet Class 67.

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