Scheme will see conventional line-side signals replaced


The East Coast Main Line is set to become Britain’s first mainline digital rail link with £350m of new investment to install state-of-the art electronic signalling.

The upgrade, between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, will see ETCS Level 2 in-cab signalling installed that will replace conventional line side signals by 2029.

Siemens Mobility and Atkins have already been appointed as as technical and programme management partners for the scheme.

“As the country recovers from COVID-19 we want to speed up our economy and reap the benefits of new transport technology,” said transport secretary Grant Shapps. “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.”

The government has also announced that £12m is being invested in fitting out 33 new trains for the Midland Main Line with digital signalling equipment.

Toufic Machnouk, programme director of the East Coast Digital Programme, said the announcement was a big step forward for the 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,” he added.

The Department for Transport says development work is already underway with Network Rail to roll out digital signalling on further routes including sections of the West Coast Main Line, Midland Main Line and Anglia from 2026.

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