“We need a different approach because ERTMS not only involves the infrastructure, but also rolling stock, operators and maintainers,” NR managing director, Digital Railway, Mr David Waboso told delegates at the Infrarail exhibition in London this week. “We have identified how we are going to procure the system. We will specify outcomes such as performance, capacity, journey time savings, and cost improvements. We will develop a relationship with the supply chain through the whole life of the assets.

“If the assets perform well the suppliers will be paid, with penalties if they do not. We will involve the supply chain much earlier than before. We will bring in disruptors and not just traditional suppliers.”

Waboso says the first trial with this new type of procurement will be on the Great Western route.

“We need to procure smart and we want the technology to be backwards compatible,” he says. “More than half of the signalling in Britain needs to be replaced in the next 15 years, so we have a once in a generation chance to prepare for a digital railway future.