Digital railway 'needs cash to realise full benefits'

 

Network Rail has published what it called a blueprint to improve the lives of passengers and freight users through the use of digital technology.

The rail infrastructure operator said the aim of its Digital Railway Strategy was to see 70% of journeys benefit from digital signalling technology within 15 years.

Chief executive Mark Carne and transport secretary Chris Grayling also committed to ensuring that all new trains and signalling are ‘digital or digital ready’ from 2019.

Mr Carne said: ‘The age of a digital railway has today moved from the drawing board and into reality as we reveal a blueprint that will improve the lives of millions of passengers and freight users across the country.

‘Today’s commitment is to adopt and roll-out new digital technology, for both trains and track, that will deliver faster more frequent services for passengers and businesses alike, giving our economy a massive boost.’

”Local

The document states that Network Rail’s Digital Railway Programme will enable the delivery of benefits by embedding a number of new ways of working and technologies, including the European Train Control System (ETCS), which allows trains to run closer together and travel at their optimal speeds and provides enhanced train protection.

Department for Transport (DfT) officials said new digital rail technology will:

  • safely allow more trains to run per hour by running trains closer together
  • allow more frequent services and more seats
  • cut delays by allowing trains to get moving more rapidly after disruption
  • enable vastly improved mobile and wi-fi connectivity, so that passengers can make the most of their travel time and communities close to the railway can connect more easily

The strategy appears to have been a long time in the writing. The need for such a document was identified in a report from a DfT ministerial group on the digital railway in late 2016, following an allocation of £450m in the 2016 Autumn Statement.

That report stated: ‘The group believes that an effective change in the industry can only be brought about if the Government shows leadership by setting outs its vision and a clear strategy for the introduction of the next generation of rail signalling technology.’

The strategy notes a number of initiatives taking place in the current Control Period (CP5), which runs to 2019.

It states: ‘In the medium term, from CP6 to mid-CP7 (2019 to c.2027), the delivery strategy is "Targeted Deployment", whereby Digital Railway schemes will be identified and prioritised according to the most compelling, stand-alone business cases.This will be based on a set of principles, using an integrated and targeted approach, set out in this strategy. In addition, £450 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) is proposed to accelerate the deployment of a selection of digital schemes to deliver benefits by mid-CP6.’

It adds: ‘Currently there is no allocation in the statement of funds available (SoFA) for CP6 for digital signalling (ETCS) renewals, and additional funding will be sought on a case-by-case basis.’

Richard Robinson, chief executive, civil infrastructure, EMIA at AECOM, said: ‘After years of industry wrestling with the productivity gap, the time has come to fully embrace digital innovation and take the necessary step forwards to accelerate delivery. We now have the keys to unlock the future - and they lie in the combination of new delivery models and the smart use of technology.

‘However, in order for the full benefit of this transformation to be realised we must continue major enhancement investment in the railway, including from the private sector.’

Maggie Simpson, executive director at the Rail Freight Group, said: ‘Digital transformation of the railways is an exciting proposition and one that we fully embrace.

‘Government and Network Rail have taken the first steps to ensuring freight is part of this story but must now commit to fund ongoing fleet fitment in CP6 to ensure that freight operators and their customers can take full advantage of the benefits of digital railway.’

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
transport network jobs

CIVIL/STRUCTURAL ENGINEER

Torridge District Council
Up to £34,106 per annum plus relocation package up to £8,000
Looking for an experienced civil/structural engineer providing strategic feasibility and design advice to the authority Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Highway Project Engineer

City of London
Up to £42,870 per annum (inclusive of London Weighting) depending upon performance.
The Department of Built Environment is responsible for the delivery of highway and drainage schemes within the City of London London (Central), London (Greater)
Recuriter: City of London

Graduate Transport Planner

Cambridgeshire County Council
£17,681 - £23,111
EXCITING GRADUATE OPPORTUNITY Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Engineer Maintenance

Liverpool City Council
£32,233 - £37,107
Liverpool City Council are looking to recruit an Engineer Maintenance Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Tree Services Programme Manager

Nottingham City Council
£37,107
You will be responsible for the management and maintenance of the Council's trees and woods, and will provide professional advice to others Woodthorpe, Nottingham
Recuriter: Nottingham City Council

Transport Coordinator

Camden London Borough Council
£32,473 to £37,670
We have an exciting opportunity for 2 highly customer focused Transport Coordinators to work in the busy Camden Transport Team. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Highway Electrical Supervisor (Highway Maintenance)

Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,657 to £28,221
The post will support two Senior Lighting Engineers in leading and contributing to the delivery of the Street Lighting function for the Authority Bootle, Merseyside
Recuriter: Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council

Flood Risk Management Engineer

London Borough of Bexley
£31,353 to £36,876
We are currently seeking a Flood Risk Management Engineer who will have a lead role with the Flood Risk and Development Team Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal Improvements)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal improvement projects. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Senior Engineer (Traffic Signal System and Operations)

Lincolnshire County Council
£34,106 - £38,052
This is a superb opportunity to lead, motivate and inspire our engineering team working on traffic signal systems and operations. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Engineer (Traffic Signals)

Lincolnshire County Council
£42,806 - £49,441
Do you want to lead, manage and motivate a team of engineers working at the cutting edge of technology? Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Principal Nuisance Control Officer

Brent Council
£38,040 - £40,086 p.a. inc. + £4,800 shift allowance p.a.
Salary range
Recuriter: Brent Council

Rights of Way Search Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£7,188 - £7,327 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in maintaining, developing and promoting the Definitive Map for Bridgend Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Countryside Access Maintenance Officer - Highways Services

Bridgend County Borough Council
£12,644 - £13,015 per annum
We are seeking someone to assist in ensuring that the local rights of way network is protected, well maintained and enjoyed... Bridgend (Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr)
Recuriter: Bridgend County Borough Council

Principal Transport Officer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£37,320 to £40,198
The role will require close dialogue with developers and their agents and necessitate strong partnership working with District Councils... Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Project Engineer

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £33,136
Are you a qualified Highways Project Engineer? Would you like to work in the famous James Herriot area of natural beauty? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer Highways and Transport

North Yorkshire County Council
£28,2281 p.a.
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Regional Strategy Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
Band 15 – up to £41,846
Are you an experienced Transport Planner? Do you have exceptional communication skills to build relationships within teams? North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Area Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
up to £53,113 p.a. winter allowance plus 10% one off additional payment for exceptional candidates
Four Area Highway Managers roles available York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Transport Planning Officer – Major Development Applications

Somerset County Council
£33,136 to £37,107
We have a fantastic opportunity in Somerset within our Highways Development Management team. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council