Cross Industry Co-operation Leads to First Successful ETCS Testing of Class 387s on Mainline Rail

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Teams from GWR, Bombardier, DB Cargo, DfT, Heathrow Airport and Porterbrook have successfully completed ETCS testing on Class 387 units for the first time this month.

Co-operation between industry teams has led to the successful testing during the weekend of 21/22 March on the mainline between Reading and Heathrow.

Over 10 return trips were successfully carried out proving the functionality of the on-train hardware and software as well as related infrastructure.

These teams have also already achieved a multitude of first in Class outputs including:

  • ETCS and refurbishment modifications on 387 units
  • ETCS software installation and dynamic testing
  • Required infrastructure upgrades
  • Technical documentation and support
  • Operational procedures and notices

This successful milestone testing also reflects positive progress with both ETCS fitment and vehicle refurbishment at Bombardier’s Ilford depot, as well as rigorous testing over recent months of the ETCS software at Network Rail’s Melton Mowbray RIDC test track which has allowed training of key operational personnel. ​​​​​​​

The GWR 387s will serve Heathrow Express customers later this year and once introduced the trains will offer a dedicated airport experience complete with at seat USB power, fast wifi, ample luggage space and the option of Business First.

Mary Grant, CEO Porterbrook, said: “Notwithstanding these challenging times, we need to continue focusing on delivering key projects so that the railway is ready to support UK PLC when the current situation stabilises. Introduction of an ETCS fitted fleet on services to Heathrow is just such a project and will enable a service uplift to meet expected passenger numbers when the airport returns to its role as a key European aviation hub.”

Matt Byrne, UK President of Bombardier: “Though we are now on a production pause, project progress and industry cooperation continues wherever it is safe to do so. This landmark refurbishment and upgrade project, involving teams from both our services and rail control solutions businesses, is an industry first: retrofitting ETCS equipment to existing fleets.’