The Digital Railway transformation is about delivering a more dynamic, responsive and fit-for-purpose railway for rail users in the digital age.
Adopting digital train control technologies will enable us to deliver our services more efficiently and more cost effectively, than with conventional technologies. By working together, we are pursuing our digital strategy to realise benefits, to provide improved capacity, performance, safety and sustainability.
Digital signalling and train control technology will deliver significant benefits to passengers. In response to a request from the Secretary of State for Transport, the Digital Railway Programme has developed a Long-term Deployment Plan (LTDP) that proposes a partnership approach between Network Rail, the train operating companies (both freight and passenger), the rail industry supply chain and the Department for Transport. As the delivery of digital signalling requires multiple stakeholders to work together, fundamental to the success of this proposal is the co-ordination of budgets and asset renewal plans. This plan will also need to iterate over time as technology and network needs matures.
The LTDP takes account of the scale and complexity of fitting out in excess of 4,000 trains and the upgrading of more than 19,000 miles of network for one of the busiest and most intensively operated railway networks in the world. A network of this size and complexity cannot be fitted out overnight. It requires a steady programme of asset renewal to manage the transition to digital technology and also maintain continuity of service for passengers and other rail users.
The LTDP therefore sets out a framework and compelling case for asset renewal based on the replacement schedule for existing conventional signalling and train control assets, showing how modern signalling and train control technology can be delivered in a safe and cost-effective manner across the network:
- The LDTP executive summary outlines the case for digital signalling renewal, aligning both the vehicle fitment strategy as published on the Rail Delivery Group website and infrastructure renewal.
- The attached interactive PDF maps illustrate how the Network Rail regions in England and Wales will gradually migrate to digital signalling technology over a 30-year period starting from 2024, the commencement of CP7. N.B. Scotland is included in the LTDP network analysis and has engaged in the process throughout. Since its completion in spring 2019 Scotland has agreed to undertake a Whole System Signalling Review with Transport Scotland and with the support of the Digital Railway Programme. This will iterate their long-term plans as part of the network plan thus this hasn’t been illustrated on the maps at this point.
We are confident that the LTDP is both viable and necessary provided funding is made available for train fitment and infrastructure renewal to meet the schedules as indicated in the respective plans. The programme looks forward to maturing the plan with industry stakeholders during Control Period 6.