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Digital railway boost with approval of Hitachi’s ETCS on UK passenger services

14 September 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Hitachi Rail Europe has been given approval from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to use its European Train Control System (ETCS) on passenger services in the UK.

Digital railway boost with approval of Hitachi’s ETCS on UK passenger services

In a partnership with Network Rail, Hitachi carried out trials of its new ETCS on a British Class 37 locomotive along the Cambrian line, which runs from Shrewsbury to Pwllheli and from Shrewsbury to Aberystwyth. Hitachi becomes the first train manufacturer in the UK to have its in-cab digital signalling system authorised to run passenger trains by the ORR.

Hitachi’s ETCS technology tells the driver when to accelerate, brake or inform about upcoming hazards. The information, which is fed directly to the train’s cab, is drawn from the track-side system that monitors every train’s movement and position on the railway.

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According to Hitachi, its ETCS system will allow more trains to operate safely across the same number of lines and will offer a more reliable service for passengers; helping provide more capacity and relieve crowding.

The system forms part of Network Rail’s wider digital railway programme.

“This is big step forward for digital innovation on the UK rail network”

Commenting on the approval, Andy Rogers, Project Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said:

“This is big step forward for digital innovation on the UK rail network and, once implemented, can deliver revolutionary benefits for rail passengers. Hitachi is hugely proud to be the first to achieve this milestone, which is a testament to the hard work of our testing and signalling teams.

“Our thanks go to Network Rail for its role in achieving this milestone and we look forward to working with them to implement ETCS across the network.

“Whether through manufacturing, new rolling stock or upgrading signalling systems, as a total rail systems business Hitachi is at the forefront of modernising the UK’s rail network.”

Now that Authorisation to Place in Service (APIS) has been granted by the ORR, Hitachi will install its ETCS in over 160 new trains currently under construction. The first being the Class 800/801 which will enter passenger service next year on the Great Western Mainline, as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

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