NEW Zealand national railway KiwiRail has awarded Alstom a contract to upgrade its train control system (TCS).

KiwiRail says Alstom’s Iconis TCS will improve automation, resilience, and safety. The system will also improve punctuality monitoring and, once construction of duplicated control centres is completed in 2024, will allow KiwiRail to control the 3700km network simultaneously from Auckland and Wellington.

Deployment of the new system is divided into four phases over three years. The first deployment will cover a pilot project on the Wairarapa Line connecting Wellington with Palmerston North, followed by a rollout in the Lower North Island, Upper North Island, and South Island.

Once the system has been installed, Alstom will provide long-term support and maintenance to KiwiRail for 15 years.

KiwiRail’s chief operating officer - capital projects and asset development, Mr David Gordon, says the investment will future-proof operations.

“The project to duplicate the control centres is already well underway with construction happening in Ellerslie, Auckland, and Upper Hutt, Wellington,” Gordon says. “In addition, we have already moved our computing hardware to secure data centres to improve resilience. This upgrade to the TCS, which replaces 25-year-old software, is a further step to boost network resilience and give KiwiRail the ability to meet increasing demand and ensure safe and reliable rail services for all New Zealanders.”

“Our innovative, yet proven technology will provide KiwiRail greater operational flexibility, efficiency and safety while simplifying and future-proofing its operations,” says managing director for Alstom in Australia and New Zealand, Mr Mark Coxon. “Being the first major contract secured by Alstom in New Zealand, we will use the KiwiRail TCS opportunity as the catalyst to further expand our presence in New Zealand.”