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  • Railway Communications System (RCS)

  • Passenger train crossing over tracks


    Speeding up communication on the network

    After two years of extensive testing on Scotland’s North Clyde line, Network Rail has installed a digital railway communications system (RCS) across the whole of Britain’s network. We completed this project in 2014.

    RCS uses GSM-R technology, which is GSM mobile technology specially adapted for railway use. It allows the driver to contact a signaller within seconds, even in cuttings and tunnels. This secure, speedy communication improves safety and reliability, and enables the train operating companies to recover more quickly from incidents on the network. It also means they can keep passengers better informed when delays occur, improving people’s experience of rail travel.

  • Safety through communication

    Increased safety for passengers through direct digital communication across the whole rail network with a host of additional safety features.

    Better punctuality

    Improved punctuality for passengers through better, quicker communication between driver and signaller means faster resolution of potential issues.

    Better informed passengers

    Better passenger information as RCS tracks the position and status of trains which means that unexplained delays become a thing of the past.
  • Timeline

    RCS timeline
    1. Summer 2009: West Coast Main Line (WCML) – first use of RCS outside Strathclyde test area, between London Euston and Rugby.
      WCML – use of RCS extended between London Euston and Stoke.
    2. Summer 2012: Analogue radio systems are switched off for the southern half of the country – RCS goes live.
    3. Summer 2014: RCS functional across the whole of Britain.


  • Image gallery

    Laying fibre optic and copper cables

    Equipment cabins house the technology

    A lattice mast provides direct, continuous and secure communication

    A monopole mast. RCS creates a safer railway