FIVE companies have partnered to develop onboard equipment to bridge the gap between ETCS and the Convel legacy signalling system used in Portugal.

The Specific Transmission Module (STM) Convel is an intermediate system that allows trains equipped with ETCS to run on lines with Convel but not ETCS.

The system is being developed by Stadler, Portuguese freight operator Medway, rolling stock leasing company Alpha Trains, Portuguese engineering firm Critical Software and Thales. It will be adaptable to ETCS from any supplier ensuring correct migration in line with the recommendations of the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA). In addition, it is hoped the technology will facilitate future upgrades and open the market to new suppliers.

Under the partnership, rolling stock manufactured by Stadler for operation in Portugal will be equipped with ETCS supplied by Thales and an external STM developed by Critical Software. The system can easily be removed when all lines have been equipped with ETCS.

Announcing its plans to expand into France at the start of March, Medway confirmed that it will purchase eight Stadler Euro6000 electric locomotives and 350 wagons. The eight locomotives are in addition to the 16 Euro6000 six-axle 1668mm-gauge electric locomotives Medway ordered from Stadler in November 2021.

Medway has also ordered six diesel locomotives from Stadler for operation on Spain’s non-electrified lines.

An interview with Medway CEO, Mr Bruno Silva, will appear in the May issue of IRJ.