Thameslink Signalling Awarded

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Network Rail has announced the award of the, £32 million, Thameslink core area resignalling contract to Invensys Rail. The project is designed to provide a significant increase in route capacity, allowing 24 trains per hour to run from Loughborough Junction in the south, through central London, and onto Kentish Town in the north.

Our thanks and copyright acknowledgements to Flickrist Bob Lear for this picture of a class 319 EMU, approaching Loughborough Junction station from the south on route to Kentish Town on the 10th February 2010. This route is currently jointly operated by Southeastern and FCC.

The four-stage project Invensys will handle includes all elements of design, manufacture, installation, testing, and commissioning. The equivalent of six Solid State Interlockings will be controlled by the company’s WESTLOCK interlocking and WESTCAD computer-based control systems, which are to be installed at both West Hampstead, based at West Hampstead, and Victoria, based at Clapham Junction, Signalling Centres.

Invensys Rail’s Managing Director Nick Crossfield said, “We are absolutely delighted to have secured this contract, the latest in a series of wins for the company in the United Kingdom. Whilst this is an extremely challenging project, in terms of design, integration, and access, our delivery team is looking forward to working closely with colleagues at Network Rail on the Thameslink program and with other contractors to deliver another first class solution for London.”

As a key deliverable for the London Olympics, the first stage of the project will be commissioned at Kentish Town station in April 2011, with the final stage scheduled for completion in April 2012.

This announcement swiftly follows an interim management statement by the company that it was on track to deliver a better performance for the year after a solid first quarter for its industrial systems unit and higher demand in its controls business. The company, which makes rail signalling, automated systems for power stations and controls for washing machines, said it was seeing some recovery in demand in North America and Europe. Its controls business was seeing higher volumes in North and South America, it said, and early signs of improvement in Europe. Invensys said its large order book in its rail business, with 46 percent relating to new markets, should help offset any spending cuts by governments in the UK and Spain.

Invensys said underlying operating margins in rail in the first half would be in line with its target of 17-18 percent, before provisions for additional implementation (over-run) costs of about 13 million pounds in three mass transit projects. It expected margins to at least remain at that level in the second half. Harry Philips, an investment analyst at Evolution Securities, commented on the £13 million provison:

Part of this was a software issue which is now essentially resolved and part is a factor of main contractor scheduling delays rolling onto Invensys.

Mr. Philips, subsequently cut his 2011 forecasts for the company as a consequence of the charge.

It would appear that both the City and LR readers will be watching the progress of this critical element of the Thameslink programme.

Written by Mwmbwls