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Train Protection Overlay System for Ashford International

HS1 International

SYSTRA and Scott Lister are currently developing options for a train protection system for Ashford International Station. This is an essential upgrade to enable the new Class 374 (e320) trains for the Eurostar service to stop at the station, with effect from 2018. Launched in 2015, the project is funded by Kent County Council and Network Rail with a grant from the European Commission.

SYSTRA has a long history of supporting HS1 and Eurostar with their infrastructure engineering requirements and have the knowledge and experience to extend this system to other parts of the network.

Ashford International is half-way between London and Folkestone. The construction of the high-speed line, HS1, led to the station being rebuilt in 1990 to accommodate international services. Today, Class 373 (e300) Eurostar trains stop on platforms 3 and 4, while other regional lines use platforms 1 and 2. The “Ashford International Spurs” line connects the high speed line with the station and conventional rail lines and the section forms part of the Network Rail network.

HS1 rolling stock currently use a TVM 430 (track-to-train transmission) cab signalling system, a form of in-cab system originally deployed in France and used on high-speed railway lines). The Ashford Spurs lines are adapted to Eurostar Class 373 trains, which are equipped with Automatic Warning System (AWS)/Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), which allows them to safely operate on the conventional rail network. The new Class 374 trains have an embedded system working with KVB system (Beacon to Vehicle Control) and European Train Control System (ETCS) and so are currently unable to stop at Ashford International Station, consequently are currently restricted to the high-speed network.

The purpose of the project is to maintain the Eurostar service at Ashford International following the introduction of the new Eurostar Class 374 trains. The key challenge is to develop a safe and effective train protection system that does not impact on the current timetable, minimises the impact on the existing signalling systems whilst delivering a safe and cost effective solution to the functional requirements.

This will ultimately give Eurostar more flexibility with their operational planning, and provide all future Eurostar services the ability to stop at Ashford International.