HITACHI Rail has won a $A 107m ($US 74.4m) contract to equip Queensland’s New Generation Rail (NGR) fleet of 75 EMUs with ATO over ETCS Level 2.

The contract will be delivered over a four-year period across the six-car trains and will provide the ability to operate at GoA2. The first two trains are undergoing technical fit-out and testing. In addition to equipment installation, Hitachi has also been awarded a contract worth $A 65m for the maintenance of fleet through to 2046.

The NGR fleet was delivered from 2016 under a $A 4.4bn public-private partnership (PPP) by the Qtectic consortium made up of Bombardier, John Laing, Itochu and Aberdeen Standard Investments. The contract also included construction of a maintenance centre at Wulkurata in Ipswich and a 32-year maintenance contract.

As IRJ reported on July 18, Queensland has been testing ETCS on Brisbane’s 11km Shorncliffe suburban line as a prelude to its installation on the under-construction Cross River Rail project ahead of a state-wide roll-out, which will boost capacity across the 1067mm-gauge network.

Following the completion of the Hitachi Rail contract to install ATO and ETCS in the NGR fleet, Queensland Rail will also benefit from the significant energy efficiencies associated with consistently running trains at an optimum speed, helping to reduce costs and electricity usage.

Elsewhere in Australia, last year the government of New South Wales awarded Siemens a second $A 110m ($US 85.6m) contract to upgrade conventional signalling on the Sydney Trains network to ETCS Level 2. This followed Siemens being awarded an earlier $A 80m contract to supply a new TMS in September 2020. Both contracts were awarded under the government’s broader Digital Systems Programme aimed at replacing legacy signalling and train control systems with modern technology while also increasing service reliability and capacity.

On the Sydney Trains network, the contract to install ETCS includes the implementation of ATO at GoA 2, under which drivers will retain control but will be assisted in improving operation and reducing journey times. Meanwhile the TMS will continuously monitor the position of all trains from the rail operations centre, ensuring they remain on schedule.