Northern City Line proved ready for digitally signalled passenger service

Northern City Line proved ready for digitally signalled passenger service

Network Rail and Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have successfully demonstrated that the recently installed digital signalling system on the Northern City Line is ready for passenger service.

The testing, which took place overnight when stations were closed, involved running six digitally signalled trains in 30-minute intervals. This mirrored Great Northern's peak timetable on the line.

The tests were carried out by a team of Train Test Officers, formed of representatives from across the ECDP's industry partners including the freight sector.

Ed Akers comment

The successful completion of the tests is a significant milestone for the first phase of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP). The ECDP is a £1.2 billion project to install digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line and the Northern City Line.

Trains have already been dynamically tested on the route with GTR and Network Rail planning on running the trains once the Office of Rail and Road gives authorisation to switch on the ECTS system. A steady programme of driver training will then take place for the 250 Great Northern drivers.

Once introduced, ETCS will provide more reliable and greener services for Great Northern passengers on the Northern City Line. ETCS is a state-of-the-art in-cab signalling system that uses GPS and radio to communicate with trains, providing drivers with real-time information about their speed and location and is key to helping prevent accidents and delays.

Ed Akers, Network Rail's principal programme sponsor, ECDP, said: "We're delighted to have successfully completed the testing of the digital signalling system on the Northern City Line. This is a major milestone for the East Coast Digital Programme and will pave the way for the introduction of ETCS on the East Coast Main Line in the coming years."

Oliver Turner, GTR's head of ERTMS, said: "We're all very pleased with the results of the testing. We're now confident that the system is ready for passenger service and we're looking forward to starting driver training as soon as possible."

The Northern City Line is the first phase of the East Coast Digital Programme that will see the first introduction of ETCS to an intercity mainline in Great Britain, and will provide the foundation for the future expansion of digital signalling across the network.

Photo Credit: Network Rail

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