by Keri Allan
04 May 2022
A new digital signalling system was commissioned over the bank holiday weekend on Great Northern’s route into the City of London.
Part of the UK Government-funded East Coast Digital Programme, and a continuation of work undertaken last year and earlier this spring, passengers to Moorgate from 30 stations as far north as Stevenage, Hertfordshire will benefit from this work.
Once bedded in, the state-of-the-art ETCS signalling system is expected to boost service reliability and reduce the number of delays caused by signal failures.
The new system will replace signalling equipment between Finsbury Park and Moorgate stations dating back to the 1970s, including some that ran on compressed air.
“The signalling on the Northern Line was a tried and tested, safe system but it had reached the end of its life and often failed, causing regular disruption to our customers.
“They would often find their services either cancelled or delayed and diverted into King’s Cross, a long way from where they wanted to go.
“This work by Network Rail has brought the route firmly into the 21st century and should, after a bedding in period, greatly improve reliability.”
After testing and training has been completed, drivers will be digitally signalled through screens inside their train cab and the traditional signals will be removed from the tracks.
It’s expected that the Northern City Line’s signalling will be fully digital by 2024.
“This commissioning marks the start of a roll-out of modern train control technology that provides a far more efficient and reliable railway.
“The partnership on the programme has enabled the train control partner to collaborate with other industry partners to efficiently define and develop the agreed scope and design to be able to deliver the engineering that led to the successful commissioning of this digital system.”
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The UK rail industry lags behind that of aviation, roads and energy when it comes to maintenance of infrastructure and key assets.
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