Thursday, July 2, 2020

£350m investment to make East Coast Main Line Britain’s first mainline digital rail link

The East Coast Main Line is set to become Britain’s first mainline digital rail link with £350 million of new investment to install state-of-the art electronic signalling designed to cut journey times and slash delays.

The cash injection – on top of £1.2 billion already earmarked to upgrade one of the country’s most important rail arteries – will fund the replacement of conventional signalling with a digital system that allows trains to talk to the track. This will smooth the flow of trains, make journeys safer and reduce signal failures that every year result in thousands of hours of delays.

The upgrading of the line is just one element of a plan for a 21st century rail network. A third of the United Kingdom’s population lives within 20 minutes of an East Coast Mainline station and together they produce 41% of GDP.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has accelerated the roll-out of digital signalling to speed up Britain’s economic recovery as we climb out of the COVID-19 crisis. It’s part of a wider national plan aimed at introducing digital signalling on to the entire rail network.

The new technology allows signallers to know exactly where each train is at every minute of every journey. The East Coast Main Line is a mixed-use railway, with trains of different sizes and speeds, both passenger and freight, all using the same tracks. This smart signalling recognises these different trains, allowing train and track to talk to each other continuously in real-time. This ‘in-cab’ system will mean an end to conventional signalling at the side of tracks – first used in the Victorian era.

The introduction of digital signalling is also set to create high-skilled jobs across the supply chain, helping boost the economy as the country builds out of COVID-19.

More than 80 million journeys are made each year on the East Coast Main Line, linking London with Edinburgh, with congestion on the route compounded by signalling nearing the end of its useful life. The upgrade, between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, will ensure that more travellers reach their destinations on time. Delays in the south of the route have a knock-on effect further north, so the modernisation work will make life easier for people along the entire length of this vital national asset.

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.

“Upgrading this country’s conventional signalling system, and giving drivers technology fit for the 21st century, will boost train performance, cut delays, improve safety and support the supply chain.

“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.”

Toufic Machnouk, Programme Director of the East Coast Digital Programme, said: “Today’s announcement is a big step towards transforming the network for the millions of passengers that use the East Coast Main Line and a welcome endorsement of the partnership approach that the rail industry has adopted to deliver Britain’s first inter-city digital railway. The funding detailed by the Secretary of State is very significant and will enable the vital building blocks needed to build a modern, right time railway.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our news site - please take a moment to read this important message:

As you know, our aim is to bring you, the reader, an editorially led news site and magazine but journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them.

With the Covid-19 lockdown having a major impact on our industry as a whole, the advertising revenues we normally receive, which helps us cover the cost of our journalists and this website, have been drastically affected.

As such we need your help. If you can support our news sites/magazines with either a small donation of even £1, or a subscription to our magazine, which costs just £33.60 per year, (inc p&P and mailed direct to your door) your generosity will help us weather the storm and continue in our quest to deliver quality journalism.

As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to our web site and magazine. You'll also be offered VIP invitations to our events, preferential rates to all our awards and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Just click here to subscribe and in the meantime may I wish you the very best.






Latest news

Leicestershire homeware wholesaler secures £250k MEIF investment

Fifty One Percent Limited, the luxury homeware wholesaler, has received a £250k finance package from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund Debt Finance, managed by...

30,000 sq ft of office accommodation snapped up at Leicester’s The Rutland Centre

Property advisors APB (Leicester) LLP have let 30,000 sq ft of office space over 3 floors at The Rutland Centre on Halford Street in...

13 Midlands firms win places on COVID-19 edition of Britain’s biggest private companies league table

Published this weekend, the 19th annual Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the biggest sales, and...

Derby Redundancy Working Group appeals to firms recruiting engineering and manufacturing workers

A team launched to assist workers made redundant during the Coronavirus crisis is appealing for firms who are recruiting engineering and manufacturing skills into...

CBILS loan helps Leicestershire logistics firm pay suppliers

Leicestershire headquartered logistics firm, Armstrong Logistics, has secured a six-figure finance package from HSBC UK through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). The funding...

Related news

Mansfield fit out specialists awarded £2.3m student accommodation contract

Mansfield-based Deanestor, the furniture and fit out specialists, has been awarded a £2.3m contract for a major new student accommodation scheme in London. This...

Leicestershire homeware wholesaler secures £250k MEIF investment

Fifty One Percent Limited, the luxury homeware wholesaler, has received a £250k finance package from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund Debt Finance, managed by...

30,000 sq ft of office accommodation snapped up at Leicester’s The Rutland Centre

Property advisors APB (Leicester) LLP have let 30,000 sq ft of office space over 3 floors at The Rutland Centre on Halford Street in...

13 Midlands firms win places on COVID-19 edition of Britain’s biggest private companies league table

Published this weekend, the 19th annual Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100 league table ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the biggest sales, and...

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close