Ansaldo STS Australia has landed a $317.5 million contract to create an automated train management system for Rio Tinto's iron ore rail network in Western Australia's Pilbara region.
The firm, which is a subsidiary of Italian giant Ansaldo STS, is to develop a modular signalling system that "includes the introduction of a centralised Vital Safety Server for the safe and flexible management of train movements".
The system will also cover "an on-board driving module which enables the complete automation of the trains' operation."
Rio Tinto's automated heavy-haul rail network will span some 1500 kilometres from pit to port. It is expected to be completed in 2015.
The Ansaldo contract was awarded under a broader 'framework agreement' between Rio Tinto Iron Ore and Ansaldo STS.
Created in 2010, the framework agreement charges Ansaldo STS with delivering "a program of works over five years, to support Rio Tinto's major expansion and operational efficiency projects in the Pilbara."