As part of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), and with an investment of £1 billion in Government funding, the technology is to be installed along the entire southern section of the line, from London’s King’s Cross to Stoke Tunnels, just south of Grantham. The result will mean faster, safer and more regular trains for millions of people.
Lineside signalling will be removed and replaced with the European Train Control System (ETCS), which brings signalling into train drivers’ cabs and provides them with real-time, continuous information throughout their journey. Crucially for passengers, the new technology allows services to recover quicker when journeys don’t go to plan. It also constantly monitors the train’s speed to create a safer railway.
A week after union leaders brought much of the nation’s railway to a standstill with strikes, this investment is a key example of how the Government wants to bring the industry into the 21st century.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:
“While union bosses waste time touring television studios and standing on picket lines, I am busy getting on with the job at hand and modernising our railway.
“This £1 billion investment will allow us to replace unreliable Victorian infrastructure with cutting edge technology which will mean fewer delays and more regular services for millions of passengers.
“The world is changing and, despite the best efforts of unions, I am determined to help our railway change with it.”
Toufic Machnouk, Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway, Network Rail, said:
“We are delighted to have been given the go-ahead for this ground-breaking programme that will transform the capability and resilience of the East Coast Main Line and be a key enabler for the wider network.
“The ECDP is uniquely bringing together all elements of track and train through a pioneering industry partnership that is working beyond boundaries in a deep collaboration. We will upskill our people and use new technology to improve the way we work for the benefit of passengers and freight customers”.
David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said:
“Digital signalling will allow the full potential of our Azuma fleet technology to be realised, and means our customers will benefit from even more reliable and sustainable journeys in the future.”
Tom Moran, Thameslink and Great Northern Managing Director, said:
“We’re delighted with this announcement, which will mean better services in the future for our passengers on the East Coast Mainline. This massive investment builds on our work to implement digital signalling on the Northern City Line into Moorgate in the City of London, and it means we can continue to roll out the technology on some of our key routes.”
Maggie Simpson OBE, Director General, Rail Freight Group, said:
“Freight customers throughout supply chains are dependent on reliable rail services to deliver goods to people. We welcome this investment in digital signalling that will provide a more flexible and resilient railway, unlocking future growth potential in rail freight traffic supporting both decarbonisation and economic growth.”