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Network Rail seeks £45m integration partner for ECML digital railway

Network Rail has today launched the search for a private-sector partner to deliver a major digital railway transformation across the East Coast Main Line (ECML).

In September, Network Rail launched the procurement for a long-term train control partner (TCP) to help develop the technology solutions alongside the infrastructure owner from early in the process.

Now, Network Rail is seeking an integration partner – dubbed the Railway Systems Integration Partner (RSIP) – to oversee and manage integration, coordinate industry and relationships, and provide governance.

The RSIP will be chosen via a framework contract worth up to £45m over an eight-year period. The successful bidder will work with the London North Eastern and East Midlands (LNE & EM) route team to lead industry in the roll-out of ETCS.

In total, three partners will assist Network Rail with the transformations: the TCP, the RSIP, and a traffic management partner (TMP) – the search for which will begin next year. 

The RSIP will establish a collaborative, integrated relationship with the route, its partners the TCP and TMP, as well as stakeholders such as government, passengers, freight operators, and train owners.

The last significant upgrade to the train control system in this section of the railway was during the 1970s, and it will need to be renewed over the coming control periods. Many of the new trains now operating or soon to be in service will also be fitted with digital in-cab signalling technology.

Rob McIntosh, route director for the LNE & EM route, said: “This is an extraordinary and exciting opportunity that will have a significant and sustained impact on the future of the railway and the economies and communities we serve.

“The RSIP will assist us to maximise the potential benefits of the digital signalling and train control systems by leading the industry through the change process and ensuring collective operational readiness on this complex transformation programme.”

David Waboso, MD for Group Digital Railway, added: “Britain’s railway is in need of a transformative approach that takes it beyond the challenges of today, and this will create a mould for how a new generation of partnerships can be established that will deliver better outcomes, both for users and for how the industry works together.”


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