The new generation of railway signalling in Portugal starts with Thales

  • Infraestruturas de Portugal (IP) awarded Thales the renewal of the existing signalling systems in 3 lines/sections of its network: Caíde-Régua section of Douro Line, Pampilhosa station in North Line and the complete Beira Alta Line (Pampilhosa-Vilar Formoso), including Mealhada junction. Also included in this project is the signalling of Évora-Elvas-Border in Évora and East Lines, comprising both existing and new lines.
  • The global amount of the contract represents 40,5 million €.
  • This project represents the first implementation of ETCS level 2 railway safety technology for automatic train protection in Portugal. State-of-the-art interlocking systems will also be installed on these lines to safeguard traffic control.
  • The project will cover a total of 380 km of conventional lines. Beira Alta Line and Évora-Elvas-Border, correspond respectively to the North International and South International corridors, both pertaining to the TEN-T network, which are the main corridors connecting to European Rail Network and the main harbours in Portugal.

IP, Infraestruturas de Portugal, has entrusted Thales, together with its partner SISINT, with the responsibility of carrying out this new project as part of the improvements to safety and signalling systems on their network. This programme will enhance the capacity of the lines as well as providing a substantial improvement in the rail service in the international corridors and its connections to the sea harbours, while ensuring the fulfilment of interoperability requirements.

Technology Renewal

As in the early 1990’s, the Portuguese team of Thales is again involved in technology breakthroughs.

In 90’s was the replacement of the relay and electromechanic interlocking by the introduction of new electronic interlocking technologies, today, in the second decade of the 21st century, Thales starts the replacement of that 1st generation of electronic interlocking and introduces the ETCS L2, proposing a migration strategy from the existing proprietary ATP systems to standard European interoperability systems, therefore enabling the modernization program Ferrovia 2020.

With this project, Thales reinforces the competencies of the Portuguese team in interoperable systems beyond the already existing competencies and experience in ETCS L1 and on-board solutions. 

"We are proud to contribute with Thales technology to one of the key networks for Europe’s backbone, boosting competitiveness on critical infrastructure for the transport of people and goods."

- João Araújo, Country Director Thales in Portugal

Thales and the Portuguese Rail

Thales has been a major player since the beginning of the Signalling modernisation program started by Infraestruturas de Portugal (at the time, CP and later REFER) in the early 90’s, namely introducing new interlocking technologies delivering new Electronic Signalling Systems, creating the concept of Integrated Rail Communications Systems, giving a strong enhancement in all Passenger centric services developing solution for Passenger Information, that become an important piece of Thales portfolio and introducing a new Operational Control Centre by the design and implementation, in 2007, of the new Lisbon OCC, covering 70% of the Portuguese rail traffic. With almost 30 years of cooperation on Signalling and Telecommunication renewals in the Portuguese network, Thales is a relevant player and the major maintenance provider in these domains.