Rail News

UK Government to Invest in Britain’s First Digital Intercity Railway

The Government is developing plans for Britain’s first digital intercity railway in the north, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced today (22 September 2017) as the government invests a record £13 billion in improving journeys across the region.

As part of the Great North Rail Project, major upgrades are being developed for the TransPennine route between Manchester, Leeds and York from 2022 – to slash journey times between Leeds and Manchester to 40 minutes.

Britain’s first digital intercity railway
First TransPennine Railways Class 185 © Ray Forster (license)

Britain’s First Digital Intercity Railway

Digital signalling technology is already in operation on the London Underground, and Network Rail will now develop options to make the TransPennine route the first digitally controlled intercity rail line in the country.

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Network Rail will receive up to £5 million to develop proposals for embedding digital technology between Manchester and York, to help us deliver a more reliable and safer railway. This includes looking at a system of advanced train traffic management – so that a computer works out how to route the trains most efficiently along the line.

Improving Rail in the North

This government has launched the biggest modernisation programme of railways in the north since the steam age – and we are investing £40 billion in our network across the country.

The government is also bringing HS2 – Britain’s new railway – to the north, the Pacer trains are being scrapped by the end of 2019 and major investment in motorways is also underway across the region.

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

We are about to see a digital revolution in our railways, and we want the north to lead the way.

New technology on the Manchester to York route will help us deliver a more reliable and safer railway, with more space for passengers.

Travel will be transformed across the north as we invest £13 billion to improve journeys, expand our motorways, scrap the outdated Pacer trains, and spend £55 billion on HS2 to cut journey times between our great northern cities.

TransPennine Upgrades

Developing proposals for digital-control on the TransPennine route is to be paid for from a £450 million digital railway fund announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement last year.

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On the London Underground 3 lines already have in-cab signalling, which has meant trains can safely run closer together.

Work to deliver improvements to the TransPennine railway line have already begun.


Original article © Department for Transport.


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