Network Rail Advances East Coast Main Line Digital Signalling Programme

Network Rail has announced the next step in its plans to deliver digital signalling across the first section of the East Coast Main Line.

During the weekend of 24 and 25 June 2023, equipment and technology will be installed between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

This is a significant step in enabling the section of line to begin using digital signalling from 2025.

New equipment in place for the East Coast Digital Programme
New equipment in place for the East Coast Digital Programme

Once this programme is complete, trains on the East Coast Main Line will operate using continuous speed-based signalling relayed through a screen in the driver’s cab.

This upgrade is expected to improve the performance of train services, while also reducing emissions.

View from LNER driver simulator using digital signalling
View from LNER driver simulator using digital signalling
Linda Wain, LNER Engineering Director, said:

“At LNER, we are proud to be forefront of the digital transformation of the railway, working with our industry partners to bring long-term benefits for customers. This vital investment in digital signalling will enable our Azuma fleet to realise its full potential.

“LNER Azuma train cabs are already fitted with most of the latest world-class technology in preparation for the upgrade, which will help transform customer journeys by making them even more punctual and more sustainable.”

Digital technology is already close to being implemented for Great Northern passenger services between Finsbury Park and Moorgate in London.

The work taking place in June will now also help prepare the first part of the East Coast Main Line for this transition.

Ed Akers, Network Rail’s Principal Programme Sponsor, ECDP said:

“We’ve made good early progress on the Northern City Line, and we’re now preparing the way towards Britain’s first digital signalling on an intercity mainline. Over the coming years this will enable more reliable journeys for the millions of passengers who use the East Coast route.”

Network Rail is advising passengers travelling on the East Coast Main Line to plan ahead and check their journeys while this newly announced work is being completed.

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