New Year sees further progress with East Coast Digital Programme

Work over the festive period has seen more progress made with the transformational East Coast Digital Programme.

Credit: Network Rail

Engineering work over the Christmas and New Year period has seen further steps taken towards the introduction of state-of-the-art digital signalling – providing continuous, real-time information to the driver’s cab. The technology will mean more reliable and greener services for passengers and freight, creating the next generation railway.

An engineer testing new signalling equipment

An engineer testing new signalling equipment – Credit: Network Rail

Testing a new signalling system

A successful testing of a new signalling system was carried out in the Wood Green-New Barnet area of North London.  This will improve reliability whilst also preparing the area for the future introduction of digital signalling. New lineside equipment and technology was also installed between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin. This section of route is being prepared to become the first part of the East Coast Main Line to operate with digital signalling.

The recent work has included the installation of around 120 axle counters and 40 balises (electronic devices placed between the rails to transmit information to and from the train), along with supporting infrastructure required.

Reactions to the progress

“As we begin a New Year, we’re continuing the work with all our industry partners towards the prize of a modernised, more reliable and greener railway,” Ed Akers, Principal Programme Sponsor for ECDP, Network Rail, said. “I would like to thank passengers for their patience while this vital work was carried out, which is enabling further progress on the journey to a digitally signalled East Coast Main Line.”

Engineers install new lineside equipment

Engineers install new lineside equipment – Credit: Network Rail

“The East Coast Digital Programme is taking our railway into a digital age,” David Horne, Managing Director at LNER, said. “It will transform journeys for passengers by making them even smoother, more punctual, and more sustainable. While the upgrades may see some changes to our services during planned works, this vital investment in digital signalling will bring long-term benefits and enable our Azuma trains to realise their full potential.”

“We’re very excited about the East Coast Digital Programme which will deliver a state-of-the-art railway for our customers,” Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director of Lumo, said. “During these engineering works, we are working alongside Network Rail and other operators to minimise the short-term impact on customer journeys with alternative travel options. The long-term benefits will make this worthwhile and help us provide a train service that is fit for the future.”