Network Rail has launched its procurement process to deliver the nation’s first major digital railway.
Situated on the East Coast Mainline (ECML), the route will undergo a complete digital transformation and in order to achieve this, the London North Eastern and East Midlands (LNE & EM) route is looking for a technology provider to collaborate on plans, designs, phasing, costs and realising the vision.
In order to achieve this, Network Rail will appoint a partner early and for the whole lifetime of the process to achieve the major digital railway.
This area of the railway hasn’t had its train control system substantially upgraded since the 1970s, and therefore needs to be renewed throughout the upcoming control periods.
It will form part of an alignment of opportunities to deliver a major digital railway transformation that is cost effective.
To ensure this happens, the trains that are to come into service will be fitted with digital in-cab signalling technology.
And the technology provider that Network Rail is looking for will play a key role in developing and deploying the European Train Control System (in-cab signalling) on ECML, starting on the southern end.
By introducing the modern signalling on intercity railways for the first time, Network Rail believe this will act as a catalyst for further deployment across the route and the national network.
The European Train Control System on this 100 mile stretch of the railway is the first project in the Digital Railway Strategy launched by the Secretary of State for Transport and Network Rail.
David Waboso is Managing Director of Group Digital Railway, who will deliver the strategy that will ensure all trains and signalling are either digital or digital ready by 2019.
He said: “There is a compelling case for a digital transformation on this southern section of the East Coast Mainline.
“The big challenge of digital railway is the integration of the infrastructure and rolling stock, and with the need for asset renewal coming at the same time as 70% of passenger trains being fitted, we are presented with a huge opportunity to align track and train in an efficient way.
“We seek a long term relationship based on genuine partnership, extending for the whole of the asset life.
“This will bring real benefits for passengers – a more reliable railway, expanded capacity and better information systems for travellers.”