Following Britain's first ERTMS rollout on the Cambrian Line in 2011, infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) is currently embarking on a phased trackside and associated train retrofit programme with the aim of increasing radio-based cab signalling on its network and reducing trackside infrastructure.

As part of this programme, Hitachi Rail Europe initiated Verification-Train 3 which involved developing and retrofitting ETCS onboard equipment to the locomotive in order to prove interoperability with legacy systems.

During the trial the locomotive was driven under its own power and used ETCS Level 2 via a GSM-R radio network in various operational modes including staff responsibility, on-sight, shunting and full supervision. Hitachi's system was successfully identified on Network Rail's Signalling System and Control Centre in Machynlleth, Wales, without any failures.

"We have been working towards this key milestone for some time now and are delighted that we achieved this operation at a very early stage in the project," says Mr Richard Tomlin, signalling project manager at Hitachi Rail Europe. "It gives us the opportunity to prove to the industry that our technology has full interoperability and can communicate with other suppliers' systems. We are now able to move into the next phase of test running."