Network Rail has reached a major milestone with the successful completion of a dynamic testing system on rolling stock.
The Rail Innovation and Development Centre (RIDC) reached the milestone on the East Coast Digital Programme following testing of the Alstom-installed European Train Control System (ETCS).
The test was controlled from the ETCS National Integration Facility (ENIF).
The RIDC test site at Melton is operated and owned by Network Rail.
The site at Melton is purpose-built to dynamically test rolling stock, on-track plant and machines, infrastructure and equipment.
Network Rail’s RIDC test site is designed to support high and low speed testing of vehicles and infrastructure.
The site has two separate test tracks which includes a high-speed test facility between Melton junction and Edwalton.
The system can be set up to support 125mph and 90mph testing.
ETCS is the core signalling and train control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
This plays a key role in the East Coast Digital Programme between King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel south of Grantham.
Toufic Machnouk, Network Rail’s Director, Industry Partnership Digital spoke on the major milestone.
Mr Machnouk said: “This test track is the most advanced ETCS dynamic test facility in the UK.
“[The test track] is a key building block for deployment of ETCS rolling stock on to the network.
“This is the first site of its kind in the UK.
“Achieving this milestone is testament to the dedication and tenacity of the project team.
“The focus now turns to getting the system entered into service and ready to receive trains in early 2022.”
Jason Baldock, Managing Director at Alstom, Digital and Integrated Solutions spoke on how the test facility shows the best of the UK’s rail industry.
Mr Baldock said: “Dynamic testing at the RIDC test facility proves the UK rail industry is up to the challenge of providing the skills, capacity and capability to deliver the digital railway.
“It has been a complex challenge, but we have learned invaluable lessons for future ETCS deployments.”