The UK government has allocated £1bn to install digital signalling technology along one of the country’s busiest rail routes – the East Coast Main Line.
One-third of the nation’s population live within 20 minutes of a station on the East Coast Main Line and, together, produce more than 40% of the UK’s GDP.
The technology, which will be rolled out across the entire southern section of the line – from London’s King’s Cross to Stoke Tunnels, just south of Grantham – will mean faster, safer and more regular trains for millions of people, the Department for Transport said in a statement today.
‘Replacing unreliable Victorian infrastructure’
The news comes just a week after strike action bought the nation’s railway to a standstill.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said: “While union bosses waste time touring television studios and standing on picket lines, I am busy getting on with the job at hand and modernising our railway.
“This £1 billion investment will allow us to replace unreliable Victorian infrastructure with cutting-edge technology which will mean fewer delays and more regular services for millions of passengers.
“The world is changing and, despite the best efforts of unions, I am determined to help our railway change with it.”
The funding will remove outdated lineside signalling and replace it with the European Train Control System (ETCS), which brings signalling into train drivers’ cabs and provides them with real-time, continuous information throughout their journey.
The new in-cab technology will create a more responsive, more resilient railway and, crucially for passengers, one that can recover quicker when journeys don’t go to plan.
Toufic Machnouk, director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway, Network Rail, said: “We are delighted to have been given the go ahead for this ground-breaking programme that will transform the capability and resilience of the East Coast Main Line and be a key enabler for the wider network.
“The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) is uniquely bringing together all elements of track and train through a pioneering industry partnership that is working beyond boundaries in a deep collaboration.”
The government claims the new technology will decrease carbon emissions along the railway by 55,000 tonnes – the equivalent of more than 65,000 one-way flights from London to New York.
Image credit: aappp/shutterstock
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