Works Continue on the UK’s First Intercity Digital Railway

Teams from Network Rail, Siemens Mobility and Atkins will be working over this Bank Holiday weekend on the latest stage of the East Coast Digital Program.  The works will involve upgrades to the track and signalling systems. The program is the first of its kind to introduce European train control systems within the UK with a £350m investment. Trains will be fitted with the very latest in-cab signalling technologies, leaving old lineside signals redundant.

The East Coast Main Line caters for various trains of all sizes and speeds including both passenger and freight trains, all of which will need to use the same tracks.  New digital technologies will allow signallers to communicate with trains on a continuous basis, as opposed to only at fixed signal points.  A real time digital system which will reduce delays increase safety, monitor speeds whilst dramatically improving overall online performance.

Atkins Strategic Rail Director Scot Kelly said “this is a genuinely game changing transformation programme at the leading edge of rail industry integration. Our team will bring together unique skills and experience to enable the industry collaboration to deliver the East Coast Digital Programme, establishing the gold standard for future delivery programmes.”

He also added “The East Coast Main Line links London with Edinburgh, but there is congestion on the route combined by signalling nearing the end of its life. The new ‘in-cab’ system means an end to conventional signalling at the side of the tracks, first used in the Victorian era.”

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said “as the country recovers from COVID-19 we want to speed up our economy and reap the benefits of new transport technology. The Victorians gave us the world’s first great rail network and now it’s our turn to be modern transport pioneers and build on that great tradition. This is just the beginning. In time, we will digitise signalling right across the country to make good on our promise of better reliability and punctuality for passengers. Passengers shouldn’t have to worry about missing connections or being late home to see their children, and I’ve been clear that getting the trains to run on time is a personal priority.”