UK: Class 700 Thameslink Fleet to Undergo ETCS Upgrade

As part of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), industry partners have signed a 32.7 million GBP contract to upgrade the Class 700 Thameslink fleet to the latest specification of European Train Control System (ETCS).

This five-year contract was signed by Cross London Trains, the Department for Transport (DfT), Govia Thameslink Railway, Network Rail and Siemens Mobility.

Representatives from Siemens Mobility, GTR and the ECDP
Representatives from Siemens Mobility, GTR and the ECDP

Although thr Class 700s are already fitted with ETCS, the new contract encompasses hardware and software upgrades to allow them to make use of the latest digital infrastructure being installed on the East Coast Mainline.

Aaron Meakin, ERTMS Fleet Project Manager at Govia Thameslink Railway, said:

“This is great news for our trains, our passengers and the East Coast Digital Programme. Together with five industry partners, we’ve signed a contract that will upgrade our trains to the very latest in digital signalling technology.”

The Thameslink fleet consists of 115 trains, forming the largest passenger fleet in the ECDP.

Software design and development for the upgrades on these trains will take place this summer, prior to a programme of testing and commissioning on the first-in-class unit in 2024. The entire fleet will then be upgraded in 2026.

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman said:

“This transformational programme is already creating the next-generation railway, and upgrading Thameslink’s trains will mean even more dependable and greener services for both passengers and freight.”

The ECDP is replacing conventional signals at the side of the track with digital signalling to provide continuous, real-time information to the driver’s cab.

To further unlock the benefits of this programme, Great Northern’s Class 387 Electrostars are also being retrofitted with the latest version of ETCS.

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