Central Subway train control contract approved

San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a key piece of technology for the Central Subway on Tuesday.

Supervisors approved a $21.3 million contract with Thales Transport & Security Inc. for the design and construction for the advanced train control system for the 1-1/2 mile Central Subway.

The train control system is a critical safety feature that allows automatic control of train speeds, braking and headway in the Muni Metro tunnels, said Albert Hoe, deputy program manager of the Central Subway project:

“This system will allow for a safer and more reliable operations safety within the Central Subway.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said it is already using the company Thales to operate the automatic train control system in the Muni Metro tunnels. The transit agency said it has already made $70 million in investments upgrading and making improvements.

Besides already investing millions into the Thales system, the transit agency said using a different advanced train control system by a different company could be costly and problematic by running two different systems.

Hoe said running a system made by Thales will allow for interoperability and consistency with the existing Muni Metro automatic train control system.

Funds to pay for advanced train control system will come from federal, state and local sources.

The $1.5 billion Central Subway will open to the public sometime in 2019.