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Thales’ command and control facility enables rail freight transport in the Port of Huelva increasing its capacity, safety and sustainability

This new platform ensures state-of-the-art connectivity and efficiency in the management of rail traffic with the Mediterranean corridor, the Atlantic Axis and Extremadura.

Thales has completed the command and control facility for the Port of Huelva railway network, an interoperability project aimed at increasing the network capacity of the infrastructure and establishing a safety system. This project will enable efficient and sustainable operation of the railway terminals located in the Port’s hinterland..

Thanks to its continuous research for new systems that have a ground-breaking impact on the safety, flexibility and automated operations of freight trains, Thales contributes significantly to the development and implementation of this new facilities operational capabilities and sustainability.

Thales has successfully accomplished its mission in accordance with the requirements of the Huelva Port Authority and ADIF. This project represents a substantial advance in terms of efficiency in the railway connection of the port nodes and ADIF’s General Interest Railway Network (RFIG). It enables a considerable reduction in the railway route setting times. As a result of the centralized digital train management, the system will also entail noteworthy improvements in terms of both safety during transport and occupational hazard prevention for personnel working in the Port, as well as reducing the overall carbon footprint.

With a budget of just over three million euros financed with support from the C.E.F. (Connecting Europe Facility) Programme, the platform ensures state-of-the-art connectivity and efficiency in the management of rail traffic with the Mediterranean corridor, the Atlantic Axis and Extremadura. The platform is also synchronised with the Majarabique railway terminal in Seville, managed by the Huelva Port Authority. Therefore, the maritime and road transport routes are now coordinated with railway freight on the Huelva Port Authority (APH) and the National Railway Infrastructure Authority (ADIF), the two currently operative rail networks. With completion of this project, the Port will enhance its logistics competitiveness and greatly reduce its carbon footprint in all the supply chains by fostering an increase in rail-borne freight operations and a reduction in road transport.

2,600 rail transport transactions

A measure of the importance of this system is provided by the magnitude of the movement of goods from the Port which, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, reached 29,919,726 tonnes in 2020 and a net turnover of € 42,837,290. There are already nearly 2,600 railway operations – of which more than 350 are regular container traffic connections with Seville and Madrid – in the Port’s hinterland.

The system installed by Thales is an L905E interlocking SIL 4, the highest rail transport Safety Integrity Level, and is equipped with decentralized field elements control units mounted in field cabinets (DCAs) to cover the 8 km of the Port of Huelva main trunk network.

With this new solution developed in the Port of Huelva, and another one at the Port of Seville, Thales is currently the leader in capacity and expertise in port railway solutions for industrial environments. These ports and Thales are the driving force behind development of port-rail operations and digital connectivity with ADIF.

These railway solutions can be integrated with other specialised technologies tailored to connect to railway management systems to provide more and better services to the port sector’s entire industrial supply chain, thereby further enhancing its operational capabilities and reducing its carbon footprint.

    "Our experience in connecting the railway network with a series of Spanish ports enables us to contribute directly to the economic recovery by enhancing the sustainability and efficiency of the network" Fernando Ortega, Director of Thales’ Transport Business in Spain