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Thales to equip Swiss rail operator BLS with a lower power consumption electronic interlockings

  • Thales has been awarded a frame contract to equip the Swiss railway company BLS  with electronic interlockings with optical signalling for the next 10 years
  • Thales will provide a sophisticated and reliable system that ensures high efficiency by utilizing existing processes and operational procedures.
  • BLS is one of Switzerland’s largest transport companies, operating trains on the Bern and Central Switzerland S-Bahn networks – from Bern to Payerne or from Lucerne to Bern /(Langenthal). Thanks to its InterRegio and RegioExpress lines, it also offers fast connections, for instance from Bern to Olten, La Chaux-de-Fonds and Domodossola.

Thales and BLS, a major Swiss railway company, have signed a contract to modernise the BLS rail lines. This new project for Thales involves supplying electronic interlockings with optical signalling to BLS over the next ten years.

By choosing Thales to supply new electronic interlockings, BLS maintains the continuity of rail services. ​ BLS can utilise a number of synergies from the 23 stations that Thales has already installed on its railway network since 2003. These synergies include the planning, implementation and operation of the system along with employee training. This enables BLS to implement future projects more efficiently, as the employees are already familiar with the systems.

The annual electricity consumption of the retained solution has been a key strategic factor, as BLS it has consistently evaluated the environmental impact of this modernisation over 40 years of operation. Together, Thales and BLS decided to test the power consumption of the proposed Thales solution. Measurements taken on installed systems showed that the Thales system is highly efficient and confirmed the lower power consumption.

Finally, Thales’ efficient and cost-effective solution will allow BLS to go further in modernising its railway lines. Thales’ system offers also the ability to convert existing Thales interlockings to cab signalling ETCS L2 (European Train Control System Level 2) without replacing the interlocking indoor equipment. This approach will enable BLS to migrate existing lines to the modern ETCS-L2 train control system at lower cost in the future.

“We are very pleased to again collaborate with BLS and to modernise this Swiss railway with Thales electronic interlockings, providing a mature and reliable system and ensuring high usability and efficiency to save energy. This new contract reinforces our excellent, long-standing relationship, which dates back more than 20 years and marks a great success for Thales Transport in Switzerland.” Kurt Sauerwein, Managing Director Ground Transportation Systems, Thales in Switzerland

“Thales’s offer was convincing in terms of sustainability, a high level of synergies and a very good fulfilment of all our qualitative criteria. We look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership.” Daniel Wyder, Head of Infrastructure at BLS