Alstom chosen to provide Smartlock Interlocking and ETCS for Irish Rail’s Cork Area commuter rail
The new system will bring a reliable, higher frequency unified through-running suburban rail service for citizens within the Cork metropolitan area.
Alstom, the global leader in smart and sustainable mobility, has been awarded a groundbreaking contract by Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) to revolutionise rail travel and mobility on the Cork Area Commuter Rail (CACR) network. The project, set to enhance the rail service within the Cork metropolitan area, will feature Alstom's cutting-edge signalling technologies - Smartlock Computer-Based Interlocking (CBI) system and European Train Control System (ETCS).
The CACR project aims to modernise and upgrade 62km of the rail network, stretching from Mallow to Cork, Cobh, and Midleton, creating a seamless, high-frequency unified suburban rail service for the people of Cork.
Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership with Irish Rail, stating, "We are excited to embark on this journey, bringing cutting-edge technology to the Cork Area Commuter Rail network. With Smartlock and ETCS, we are confident that this project will set new standards in safety, efficiency, and passenger experience, providing a strong foundation for sustainable mobility in the region.”
Jim Meade, Iarnród Éireann Chief Executive said “I commend our Cork Area Commuter Rail team in ensuring that all three elements of the CACR Programme are progressing so swiftly. New signalling, our new platform, and twin-tracking of Glounthaune to Midleton are set to transform the capacity of our Cork Commuter rail network, and position us well to move forward with other rail projects under the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy, including the critical delivery of new stations.”
Alstom's Smartlock Interlocking System: A Foundation for Safety and Efficiency
At the core of this transformative initiative is Alstom's Smartlock CBI system. This state-of-the-art technology will serve as the project's primary foundation, offering a safe, simplified, and maintenance-friendly solution. By directly interfacing with axle counters and trackside objects through SmartIO, the Smartlock system eliminates the need for intermediate relays, ensuring a robust, efficient, and streamlined operation.
ETCS: Ensuring Continuous Train Protection and Efficiency
In addition to Smartlock interlocking, the project will also feature the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1 trackside technology. ETCS is a train protection system that guarantees enhanced safety, efficiency, and reliability throughout the Greater Cork area. The implementation of ETCS further strengthens the commitment to safety and ensures a smooth, secure, and eco-friendly rail network.
Revolutionising Passenger Journeys and Sustainable Transport Solutions
The combined power of Smartlock and ETCS will pave the way for a remarkable transformation of passenger journeys on key commuter routes within the Cork area and is able to be expanded across the entire rail network. Alstom remains committed to delivering sustainable transport solutions and contributing positively to Ireland, its people, and the communities served. Emphasising sustainability and the environment, the CACR project aligns with Alstom's vision for a cleaner and more sustainable tomorrow.
Alstom has also won a ten-year framework agreement with Irish Rail for up to 750 new X’trapolis commuter rail cars for Ireland’s DART network, with firm orders for 37 five-car X’trapolis trains including a 15-year support services contract. 31 of the ordered trains are battery-electric multiple units (BEMUs) while six are electric multiple units. The new trains will deliver more capacity and decarbonisation benefits to the local community of Greater Dublin.
DART+ is the transformative programme that will ensure train travel is at the heart of Ireland’s sustainable transport network. Funded under the National Development Plan by the National Transport Authority, DART+ is an investment that will double the capacity and treble the electrification of the Greater Dublin Area network, facilitating sustainable mobility and development to enhance quality of life in the capital and its surrounding counties.
A new infrastructure contract with Alstom will provide a state-of-the-art charging facility to be installed by the end of 2024 to enable the BEMU trains that will operate between Drogheda, Dublin City Centre and beyond, to operate.
Alstom is a global leader in smart and sustainable mobility solutions, providing innovative and eco-friendly transportation solutions to communities worldwide. With a deep commitment to delivering excellence, Alstom remains at the forefront of driving a more connected, efficient, and cleaner transportation future.
Alstom™, Smartlock™ and X’trapolis™ are protected trademarks of the Alstom Group.