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Keeping a crucial East Coast transport network on track

Our unique global reach has been recognised in a suite of ‘first seen’ services provided to a prominent US transportation authority.

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The current system is over a century old, with much of the equipment dating from the early 1900s.

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We stepped in to help strengthen the primary transit link between a major US city and its neighboring urban communities and suburban commuter railroads.

Nonetheless, the heavy-rail rapid-transit system is an integral part of the area’s transportation system, supporting nearly a quarter-million passenger trips each weekday.

This volume is only set to increase due to anticipated growth in regional residential, commercial, and business development. To keep pace with demand, the network operator (in conjunction with its parent organization) is taking steps to overhaul its capabilities.

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Prysmian is proud to be supporting them in their ambitious initiatives by providing premium-quality cables that will take them into the future.

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Large-scale support for infrastructure overhaul


The first element of the project is a comprehensive overhaul of the infrastructure, which will convert the network to Automatic Train Control (ATC) using Communication-Based Train Control (CBTC).

How does this work? Specialized on-board computers will be installed on many of the rail cars to communicate with trackside equipment. There will also be updates to the signaling technology associated with the smooth running of the line.

These upgrades will:


  • reduce intervals between trains
  • allow more trains to use the same tracks
  • enhance the network’s overall ability to meet peak-time demand.

The project will also incorporate a train-supervision system to boost efficiency and allow the network to exactly locate each train on the line.

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                      Passenger capacity is set to grow by 20%. 

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Tough technology for a ‘harder’ network


Hurricane Sandy pounded the East Coast of the United States in 2013, flooding the rail infrastructure with polluted water containing elements such as salt, oils, and chemicals that can erode electrical systems over time.

Alongside the initial infrastructure project, efforts are being made to strengthen critical systems in flood-prone areas (for example signaling and CBTC in tunnels). Utilizing our experience in shipboard cables, we provided the highest quality shipboard, Low-Smoke Halogen-Free (LSHF) signaling, and Digicode cables to interface with the latest state-of-the-art CBTC systems. Our LSHF cables were water-blocked to resist open-end exposure and water pressures equivalent to those seen at around five stories of submersion. 

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An extraordinary effort delivers cables without costly delays


Our factory at North Dighton in Massachusetts harmonized a traditional LSHF railroad-grade signal cable with shipboard water-blocking technologies, qualified the new product within six months, and supplied them for installation in the tunnels within the same year.


This approach has not been deployed by any other Transit Authority in the United States and represents the unique global and local reach of Prysmian Group.


When we received the notice to proceed with the provision of the CBTC cables critical for safety, our team in Italy opened our Merlino plant early from its preventative maintenance shutdown to expedite the cables. To ensure timely delivery, they were shipped via air freight to the States, arriving in time for the installation.

It’s this willingness to go above and beyond for our customers that sets us apart. We helped the network operator avoid costly delays that would have adversely affected thousands of passengers.

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Rising to the challenge


A major engineering challenge posed by the project was an aerial span of the railroad, traversing a bridge over a major river. Any cable would need to be under extremely high tension and pulled over 2500 feet from shore to shore, incorporating many sub cables within master bundles.

We were the only manufacturer in North America willing to provide an engineered solution to incorporate composite bridge cables utilizing medium-voltage power cables, signal cables, Digicode cables, and fiber-optic elements.  We were the only manufacturer willing to supervise cable installation at the bridge. We partnered with the installers, visiting the site several times and spending hundreds of hours designing and perfecting the approach for this critical element of the project. The Engineering Manager personally attended the installation on separate visits to ensure success. Failure was not an option. 


Our quick, cost-effective solution saves the day


When the jackets on Digicode cables supplied by the original cable manufacturer began to split under standard levels of mechanical abuse, the installer asked us to come up with a viable solution.

Having already made a significant investment in the original cables, and with the manufacturer unable to replace the cables, we understood that the installer needed a fix that required the minimum expenditure. We, therefore, took the competitor's cable and provided our over-jacket to give the required levels of protection at the lowest cost.

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Introducing our new CAROL® Logo. Prysmian Group is proud to announce the launch of our new CAROL® logo as part of the ongoing evolution of one of the most respected brands in the industry.


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