Latest version of ECTS on test

First Train to Use Latest ETCS Software Takes to the Rails

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has successfully tested the latest version of European Train Control System (ETCS) software on its Great Northern Class 717 fleet, marking a significant milestone in the modernisation of the rail network.

Late last month, Unit 717001 became the first train to operate using ETCS BL3 R2, also known as version 3.6.0, on the Northern City Line in London. The train seamlessly transitioned into the new software just before Finsbury Park and continued its journey to Moorgate, demonstrating the system's compatibility with existing infrastructure.

Quote from GTR's fleet manager, Aaron Meakin

This successful testing paves the way for the entire Great Northern Class 717 fleet to be upgraded to ETCS BL3 R2, ensuring compatibility with the latest digital infrastructure being installed on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) as part of the government-funded East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP). The upgrade is expected to be completed early next year, enabling the trains to operate on the ECML from 2025.

Aaron Meakin, ERTMS fleet project manager at Govia Thameslink Railway, expressed his satisfaction with the initial testing and the progress made towards a digitally signaled railway, commenting:

"After last week's success in running the very first passenger trains in Level 2 ETCS, we've now passed a second significant milestone for our Class 717 fleet and their journey towards a digitally signalled railway."

Sarah Hewlett, Network Rail programme manager for the ECDP, recognised the collaborative effort involved in this achievement: "Getting all aspects of track and train ready for digital signalling has many strands, and testing the latest version on a key train fleet provides another piece in the jigsaw.

Matt Colclough, customer service operations director at Siemens Mobility UKI, highlighted the transformative impact of this upgrade: "We are delighted to have delivered this software upgrade on the 717s, enabling GTR to harness the full potential of ETCS technology and benefit from state-of-the-art in-cab signalling on the Northern City Line and beyond.

“The digitally connected trains will be able to seamlessly communicate with the smart infrastructure, contributing to a truly digital railway and enhancing passenger journeys in and out of London."

Photo Credit: Govia Thameslink Railway

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