Development of a New National Train Control Centre
The National Train Control Centre (NTCC) will be Iarnród Éireann’s centre for the management and regulation of train movements on the Iarnród Éireann network. The centre will also provide real-time customer information at stations on our website and social media platforms.
The existing Iarnród Éireann central train control centre is due for replacement due to capacity constraints with the IT systems nearing life expiration.
A modern replacement National Train Control Centre will enable the integration of signalling and communications control across the entire Iarnród Éireann network, making our rail traffic management more efficient. . A significant customer benefit of the new NTCC will be increased train performance and the availability of up to the minute accurate real-time travel information for trip planning.
Funding for the implementation phase of the National Train Control Centre is being provided by the Government of Ireland (through the National Transport Authority) as part of Project Ireland 2040.
The existing Iarnród Éireann Centralised Traffic Control centre (CTC) is located in Connolly Station and dates from the 1970’s, with a significant extension in the 1980’s to facilitate control of the DART. As Iarnród Éireann has replaced and upgraded its track, signalling and communications infrastructure the workload has increased on the existing CTC and it is now operating at capacity and with aged technology. At present approximately 75% of the rail network (approximately 1500km) is controlled from the existing centre. The remaining 25% is controlled at a number of local locations throughout the network and cannot be integrated with the existing CTC due to the capacity constraints.
A multi-criteria location appraisal was undertaken in late 2016, which identified Heuston Station as the preferred location for the new facility.
A section 5 application was prepared and submitted to Dublin City Council. This was approved in the summer of 2017 and confirmed that the facility is exempt from planning permission.
A business case was prepared and reviewed by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, and also the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and in 2019 it was been deemed to be compliant with the Common Appraisal Framework.
The National Transport Authority has requested that Iarnród Éireann facilitate the co-location of the metropolitan traffic unit of An Garda Síochána (AGS) plus the traffic control arrangements operated by Dublin City Council (DCC) into the NTCC. Locating key parts of the control system for transport in one building is a unique opportunity to dramatically enhance the integration of transport for the overall benefit of the greater Dublin region.
The preliminary design of the new NTCC was undertaken in 2018, with completion of detailed design of the new facility in mid-2019, which incorporated An Garda Síochána and Dublin City Council’s requirements. The procurement process to appoint a contractor also commenced in mid-2019, with award of contract in early 2020. The building will be constructed to comply with Near Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) standards. It is planned that the construction of the facility will be complete by the end of 2021. Fit out and commissioning of the systems will then commence by Iarnród Éireann, An Garda Síochána and Dublin City Council.
A series of enabling works in preparation for the construction of the main NTCC building were completed in late 2019/early 2020, including the removal of existing sidings and installation of new ducting routes.
A significant number of existing legacy signalling, telecommunication and electrification systems will be required to interface to the new Traffic Management System. These interfaces will be developed with the Traffic Management System supplier, and works will be undertaken to reconfigure the existing systems.
A tender process for the procurement of the new Traffic Management System was undertaken in 2019. A contract will be awarded to purchase the new system in 2020. It is anticipated that the design, development, fabrication, installation, testing and commissioning and safety approvals for the main system at Heuston will be completed in 2023, with the development of a back-up centre following.
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