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Hitachi tests ETCS signalling on intercity trains bound for Great Western route

17 November 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Hitachi is carrying out European Train Control System (ETCS) digital signalling tests on its intercity trains destined for passenger service on the Great Western route from 2017.

Hitachi tests ETCS digital signalling on intercity trains bound for Great Western route

Hitachi Intercity train carrying out digital signalling tests

Testing of the digital signalling technology is currently underway on Hitachi’s Class 800 train (800 002) at Network Rail’s state-of-the-art ERTMS National Integration Facility in Hitchin. The digital technology is designed to create extra capacity and relieve overcrowding on rail networks.

Digital signalling systems feed more continuous information from track side equipment into the driver’s cab, enabling trains to run closer together and creating more regular services. The system tested by Hitachi will inform drivers about how to change their speed as well as about potential hazards ahead.

With advancement of ETCS measured in ‘Baselines’, Hitachi used their advanced Baseline 3 ETCS inside the driver’s cab during testing, demonstrating a step-up from the commonly used Baseline 2 version. According to Hitachi, its Baseline 3 ETCS offers enhanced performance on commuter and intercity routes, often the most congested and complex routes on the rail network.

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ETCS unlocking more capacity on rail networks

The likely long-term view of introducing the new signalling system will be the opportunity to unlock greater capacity on rail networks helping to address growing demand for rail travel which is expected to double over the next 25 years.

Further tests on Hitachi’s Baseline 3 ETCS will be carried out in order to gain regulatory approval.

Commenting on the testing, Andy Rogers, Projects Director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Only by linking new trains to new signalling systems can rail delays and cancellations truly be cut in a meaningful way. Testing of new signalling technology on our Intercity trains is another step forward to realising our goal of transforming the UK rail network.

“We’ve ensured our new Intercity trains include the latest in signalling technology to maximise their long term potential. Our Intercity trains will offer millions of passengers more seats, more space and modern technology. By introducing these new trains, Hitachi is bringing Intercity travel firmly into the 21st century”.

“With the country’s railways currently undergoing the biggest investment since the Victorian Era it is essential we modernise both our trains and signalling systems”

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