BRITISH infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) has reported taking a major step forward in its programme to install ETCS Level 2 on the East Coast Main Line, with the commissioning of new digital signalling equipment on its southern branch from Finsbury Park to Moorgate in the City of London.

Under the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), NR is due to introduce ETCS Level 2 on 160km of the East Coast Main Line from London to Stoke Tunnel, south of Grantham, by March 2029.

Digital equipment installed by NR’s contractor Siemens Mobility replaces ageing signalling dating back to the 1970s on the 5.5km Northern City line between Finsbury Park and Moorgate, used by commuter services operated by Thameslink and Great Northern.

Resignalling is expected to significantly reduce delays caused by signal failures, and will ultimately see lineside signals replaced by cab signalling under ETCS Level 2 once system testing and driver training are complete.

NR says that the Northern City line is expected to operate solely using ETCS by 2024.

“This commissioning will deliver improved reliability for passengers and marks an important step forward in the wider East Coast Digital Programme that will transform the capability of a major inter-city route,” says Mr Toufic Machnouk, NR director, industry partnership for digital railway.

Mr Mark Ferrer, rail infrastructure operations director at Siemens Mobility, adds “This commissioning marks the start of a roll-out of modern train control technology that provides a far more efficient and reliable railway.”