UK Government Announces 1bn Investment in Digital Signalling for East Coast Main Line South

The UK Government has announced it will provide funding of over one billion GBP (1.15bn EUR | 1.22bn USD) to install digital signalling along the entire East Coast Main Line South.

East Coast Main Line tracks
East Coast Main Line

One of the UK’s busiest rail routes, this section of the East Coast Main Line reaches from London Kings Cross to Stoke Tunnels, just south of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

The East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) is removing outdated lineside signalling and replacing it with ETCS (European Train Control System), which over 80% of passenger rolling stock on the line currently has.

Over its lifetime, ETCS is forecast to be 42% cheaper than the current system, plus it will help the UK Government move a step closer to its net zero target by decreasing carbon emissions by 55,000 tonnes.

It will also help improve safety and ensure a more responsive and therefore reliable service for both passengers and freight rail.

The project will also create approximately 5,000 jobs.

This latest announcement follows on from over 350 million GBP (406.07m EUR | 427.62m USD) in funding to upgrade other services on the route with digital signalling, such as the Northern City Line into Moorgate.

Toufic Machnouk, Director, Industry Partnership for Digital Railway at Network Rail, said:

“We're 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 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.

“We will upskill our people and use new technology to improve the way we work for the benefit of passengers and freight customers.”

Network Rail will prioritise the request for a further investment of 427m GBP ( 495.41 EUR | 521.74m USD) as part of the next Control Period settlement, which will bring the overall investment to just shy of 2bn GBP (2.31bn EUR | 2.44bn USD).

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