Dig­i­tal Rail­way

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Richard Clin­nick As­sis­tant Ed­i­tor richard.clin­nick@bauer­me­dia.co.uk

Net­work Rail an­nounces £1.8bn plan to in­tro­duce Dig­i­tal Rail­way on sec­tion of the East Coast Main Line by 2024.

NET­WORK Rail hopes to have trains run­ning on the East Coast Main Line us­ing Euro­pean Train Con­trol Sys­tem (ETCS) by the end of Con­trol Pe­riod 6 (2024).

The com­pany is seek­ing a part­ner to de­liver the first ma­jor in­ter-city dig­i­tal rail­way in the UK. NR’s Lon­don North East­ern and East Mid­lands (LNE & EM) Route wants to team up early with a sup­plier on a whole-life ba­sis that in­cor­po­rates de­sign, build and main­tain.

It will run over a 100-mile sec­tion be­tween Lon­don King’s Cross, Moor­gate, Roys­ton and Stoke (north of Peterborough). The aim is for 20 trains per hour to op­er­ate over a con­strained piece of busy rail­way, in­clud­ing eight high-speed, long-dis­tance trains.

The deal is worth £1.8 bil­lion via a sin­gle sup­plier frame­work con­tract, with a du­ra­tion of up to eight years. It is ex­pected to be awarded in spring 2019. Each pack­age (Moor­gate, south­ern ECML and north of Peterborough) are 30 years long, with the £1.8bn the ag­gre­gate value. NR ex­pects the even­tual cost to be be­tween £1bn and £1.8bn, and the pro­cure­ment process has started.

“This is an ex­tra­or­di­nary and ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity that will have a sig­nif­i­cant and sus­tained im­pact on the fu­ture of the rail­way and the economies and com­mu­ni­ties we serve,” said LNE & EM Route Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Rob McIn­tosh.

Toufic Mach­nouk, Route Pro­gramme Di­rec­tor for the LNE & EM route, said: “This is the be­gin­ning of a jour­ney. We are seek­ing this part­ner­ship early in the process to de­velop the best plan for real­is­ing a dig­i­tal rail­way.”

David Wa­boso, NR’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Group Dig­i­tal Rail­way, said: “There is a com­pelling case for a dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion on this south­ern sec­tion of the East Coast Main Line. The big chal­lenge of dig­i­tal rail­way is the in­te­gra­tion of the in­fra­struc­ture and rolling

stock, and with the need for as­set re­newal com­ing at the same time as 70% of pas­sen­ger trains be­ing fit­ted, we are pre­sented with a huge op­por­tu­nity to align track and train in an ef­fi­cient way.”

Speak­ing on Septem­ber 4, Mach­nouk added: “Tech­nol­ogy can al­low you to push lim­its. It helps fa­cil­i­tate or­ganic change. If we ex­pect more of rail, then it needs su­per­hu­man ca­pa­bil­ity.

“The south­ern East Coast Main Line is the fo­cus, as the as­sets are old. The last up­grade was in the 1970s. There are some chal­leng­ing struc­ture con­straints - Wel­wyn Viaduct and tun­nel, and it is a mixed traf­fic rail­way.”

He added that NR has found over the past year that it can­not buy tech­nol­ogy like it buys bridges - it needs a dif­fer­ent ap­proach.

Phil Ben­nett, Com­mer­cial Di­rec­tor, Group Dig­i­tal Rail­way, said that the pro­cure­ment model was very dif­fer­ent to the past. “It is a strat­egy about es­tab­lish­ing part­ners to de­liver out­comes. Only that way do they get re­warded,” he said.

Source: Net­work Rail.

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