‘Digital rail revolution’ will reduce overcrowding

Posted on 05 Jun 2018 and read 973 times
‘Digital rail revolution’ will reduce overcrowdingOn 10 May, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne launched Network Rail’s Digital Railway Strategy and committed to ensuring that all new trains and signalling will be digital or digital-ready from 2019 (www.networkrail.co.uk).

They say new digital rail technology will: safely allow more trains to run per hour by running trains closer together; allow more-frequent services and ‘more seats’; cut delays by allowing trains to get moving more rapidly after disruption; and enable vastly improved mobile and wi-fi connectivity, so that passengers can make the most of their travel time and communities close to the railway can connect more easily.

The technology will be fully operational from next year on the Thameslink service in central London; the Digital Railway Strategy is being launched in York on the Transpennine route.

Mr Grayling said: “We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railway since Victorian times. Passenger numbers have doubled in recent years, which means we need to invest in new technology to help deliver the reliable and frequent trains that passengers want . . . Digital rail technology will ensure that the best use is made of the almost £48 billion being invested in maintenance, modernisation and renewal of the rail network between 2019 and 2024, which includes new signalling.

“The Government has also earmarked £450 million specifically for digital railway schemes.”

Mr Carne said: “Not since the railway transformed from steam to diesel in the 1960s has a technological breakthrough held such promise to vastly improve our railway for the benefit of the millions of people and businesses who rely on it every day.

"The age of a digital railway has today moved from the drawing board and into reality, as we reveal a blueprint that will improve the lives of millions of passengers and freight users across the country.

"Today’s commitment is to adopt and roll out new digital technology — for both trains and track — that will deliver faster and more-frequent services for passengers and businesses alike, giving our economy a massive boost.”

The roll-out of digital signalling on the UK network is already under way. This technology is assisting drivers as part of the Thameslink Programme upgrades, and 200 trains will be fitted with digital signalling technology by the end of 2018.

The Government has also earmarked £5 million for Network Rail to develop proposals for embedding digital technology between Manchester and York as part of the £3 billion upgrade of that route, starting next year.

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