by Keri Allan
25 Oct 2022
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has sent its first Class 387/1 Great Northern train for ETCS upgrading as part of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP).
A total of 28 units are scheduled for retrofit.
This first train was hauled from GTR’s Hornsey depot to one in Worksop, where Alstom will install its Atlas 3 ETCS system.
The rail manufacturer has a long-term relationship with GTR, recently signing a new five-year services contract to support the Derby-built Class 377 and Class 387 Electrostar fleets.
The retrofit will include a new digital driver’s dashboard, AWS/TPWS system, doppler radar and ETCS antennae, software for a new train control monitoring system and the latest iteration of ETCS in the UK, BL3 R2, also referred to as version 3.6.0.
The unit will then undergo static testing at Litchurch Lane manufacturing site in Derby before undertaking dynamic testing at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour on Network Rail’s RIDC Melton test track.
All changes must be independently approved because this counts as a major modification to a rail vehicle.
The ‘first-in-class’ unit is scheduled to be returned next July, when GTR will then begin to fit the remaining units at its Hornsey depot.
In addition to the Class 387, two other GTR fleets will eventually be run under ETCS as part of the East Coast Digital Programme.
GTR’s 25 Great Northern Class 717 trains, which operate on the Northern City Line, were built fitted with BL3 R1 but will be upgraded to R2 this autumn.
It’s expected that in 2023 driver training will begin and the first passenger services on the Northern City Line will be digitally signalled.
All 115 GTR’s Thameslink Class 700 trains which are already fitted with ETCS will also be upgraded to the latest version of ETCS.
The UK Government-funded East Coast Digital Programme will see traditional signals on the Northern City Line and East Coast Mainline replaced with the latest digital signalling technology.
“This latest retrofit is another example of the industry partnership enabling progress towards a digitally signalled railway that works better for passengers and users.
“Over the next two years a range of vehicles across passenger, freight, heritage and maintenance sectors will be retrofitted and tested as we prepare to deliver GB rail’s first transition of an intercity mainline to ETCS operations.”
Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth has visited the new trains currently undergoing testing for the Glasgow Subway in Scotland.
HS2’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) Dorothy has begun its second one-mile tunnel bore under Long Itchington Wood in Warwickshire.
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Transport for London (TfL) has launched a trial of a new bridging device, a ramp specifically designed for step-free stations.
The first of Avanti West Coast's new fleet of Hitachi bi-mode trains has begun dynamic testing at Network Rail’s RIDC.
Network Rail has announced that major improvement works are set to take place on the Bakerloo and London Overground lines.
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Transport for Wales has installed the first electrical lines on the Core Valley Lines to power the new South Wales Metro.
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Network Rail has installed the first electric wires between Manchester and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.
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Northern has completed its first ‘Intelligent Train,’ installing technology such as LIDAR horizon scanning cameras on a Class 150 unit.
Network Rail has commenced work on the next phase of electrification along the Midland Main Line between London and Wigston, Leicestershire.
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The West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE) has revised its strategy on how to grow and develop the region’s rail network over the next 30 years.
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Network Rail has been testing whether laser beams and superheated plasma jets could be effective at clearing leaves off railway lines.
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Alstom has signed a new services contract with UK rail franchise Govia Thameslink Railway valued at £256 million.
West Midlands Railway's (WMR) new Class 196 train fleet has commenced passenger services on the Shrewsbury Line.
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A new interchange route between Bank station’s Northern line concourse and DLR concourse and platforms has been opened.
Metrolink has announced that all 27 of its new trams have now been delivered in Greater Manchester as part of a 72 million GBP investment.
Varamis Rail has signed an agreement to lease a Class 321 Swift Express freight train from Eversholt Rail.
Network Rail has announced that its 4.5 million GBP project to upgrade the tracks at Newcastle Central Station is now complete.
The DfT and FirstGroup have agreed on a short-term contract extension for Avanti West Coast, which will last until the end of March 2023.
HS2 has launched the first of six tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will dig more than 26 miles of tunnels under London.
HS2 Ltd has opened applications for tech start-ups and SMEs to join the fifth group of its Innovation Accelerator programme.
Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the Bond Street Elizabeth line station will open on 24 October.
Stadler presented its IPEMU - independently powered EMU - at InnoTrans today in the presence of Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
Stadler formally presented its FLIRT tri-mode and CITYLINK tram-train for Transport for Wales at InnoTrans today.
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Network Rail has opened a new entrance building with step-free access for Elizabeth Line passengers using Ilford station in London.
Transport for London (TfL) has reached a funding agreement with the UK government to support its transport network until March 2024.
Stadler has completed its first two Class 555 metro trains for Nexus, the owner and operator of Tyne and Wear Metro.
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The UK Transport Secretary has signed a new partnership agreement with Israel to share expertise on large scale rail projects.
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Eversholt Rail and Vivarail have signed an agreement to develop a battery power and range extension system for Class 321 ‘Renatus’ trains.
At the Future Mobility Showcase Day hosted by WMGC, Coventry City Council presented its ongoing Coventry Very Light Rail Project.
Network Rail has signed a contract with EDF Renewables UK for the supply of 49.9MW of solar power for non-traction power requirements.
South Western Railway (SWR) has begun a three-month trial of a new app designed to improve station accessibility.
Network Rail has formally begun the legal consultation process with the necessary trade unions regarding its planned maintenance reforms.
Stadler has started production of the Class 93 locomotive fleet for Rail Operations UK at its plant in Valencia, Spain.
Dorothy, HS2’s 2000-tonne tunnel boring machine, has made its first breakthrough on the UK's high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham.
Transport for London (TfL) is trialling a cooling panel solution to reduce platform and tunnel temperatures at deep Tube stations.
Network Rail is investing 30 million GBP into reducing platform congestion and improving accessibility at London Victoria station.
Off the back of Europe’s latest record-breaking heatwave, Network Rail has commissioned a new resilience taskforce.
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Balfour Beatty VINCI Joint Venture is trialling an electric, high-capacity drilling rig for construction in Warwickshire.
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Phase two of work on Nexus’ Gosforth Metro depot has been completed with the installation of three more sections of line on the site.
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HS2 has announced that OpenSpace Group Ltd is using artificial intelligence (AI) and LiDAR sensors to develop future train stations.
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