What steps are being taken to prevent ERTMS training and ETCS fitment from interupting freightliner’s commercial agreements?
Network Rail has committed to the funding of cover locos and drivers to ensure Freightliner can continue with business as usual during fleet fitment and driver training. A number of Network Rail funded Trainee Train Drivers have already entered the business to ensure productivity prior to the commencement of driver training. Additionally, a number of Freightliner locos will be brought back into service to backfill locos during their fitment periods.
Why was East Coast mainline chosen as an early adopter for ERTMS?
The East Coast Main Line was chosen as an early adopter for digital signalling technology as fixed asset signalling failures were becoming a major factor contributing to increasing levels of passenger, freight and rail user disruption which would only become worse as obsolete signalling became life-expired.
Additionally, many new trains procured to operate on the East Coast Main Line had already been fitted with the required on-board train digital technology, resulting in an opportunity to align track and train digital technology and accelerate the pace at which the technology could be deployed.
How does the Programme intend to do this?
The Programme will deploy digital signalling along the East Coast Main Line South (ECML-S) from Kings Cross station in London to the Stoke Tunnels, just before Grantham, a distance of 106 miles.
Working in partnership with the route, passengers and freight operators, On Track Machines (OTM), Charter and Heritage, delivery partners, the Government including the Department for Transport, industry bodies and stakeholders, the Programme will create a more dynamic, more reliable, and more flexible railway across ECML-S. It will also, as part of transitioning to digital signalling, replace fixed asset signals, which are becoming life expired, on the Finsbury Park to Moorgate commuter line (the Northern City Line).
Why was the programme developed?
The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) was developed as part of a response to the Secretary of State for Transport to create a more dynamic, more reliable and more flexible railway for rail users in a digital age.
ECDP represents a once in a generation opportunity to transform how the railway works for passengers and freight users. This will be achieved by taking advantage of an opportunity to migrate fixed line-side signals (which are becoming life expired) to digital signalling on the East Coast Main Line South.
Has ERTMS already launched on some lines?
Yes, A single track line of 215km – the Cambrian Line – linking Shrewsbury with Aberystwyth and Pwllheli in Wales came into full service in 2011. 24 sets of 2 coach Class 158 DMUs from Arriva Trains Wales were ERTMS fitted for passenger operations, supported by 4 Class 97 Diesel locomotives prepared for freight and other operational duties. ERTMS has been deployed in additional isolated lines across the UK including Thameslink.
Where is ERTMS already being used?
Across many countries in Europe and elsewhere. In Switzerland it is enabling 15-25% capacity increase on a key route with services operating at 125mph. Valuable supply chain experience has already been secured in the UK, following Network Rail’s first ever European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) deployment on the Cambrian Line in 2011. This was augmented in 2018, when the first passenger train ran through the Thameslink core in central London using ETCS with Automatic Train Operation (ATO). Crossrail also features a radio-based control system and sections of ETCS. Great Northern has successfully tested one of its trains using a digital in-cab signalling system for the first time, demonstrating that the system on-board works in a real operational setting.
Who will be impacted by ERTMS
All Railway staff will be impacted to a degree. Where impact is significant and requires retraining, the ERTMS team will ensure staff are upskilled to continue excelling in their roles.