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Funding announced for ETCS feasibility studies

THE government has announced funding of £1.2 million to help with the development of ERTMS/ETCS on three main lines.

The budget will pay for ‘feasibility work’ on parts of the West Coast and Midland Main Lines, and also from Peterborough to Ely and King’s Lynn.

Rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: ‘Today’s investment brings forward early investigation work with Network Rail engineers and suppliers on how best to roll out digital signalling across the rail network, reducing delays and improving safety in the long term.

‘Our ambitious programme to modernise Britain’s rail network will support the supply chain by creating high-skilled jobs and boosting the economy.’

The new funding follows a much larger grant of £350 million, most of which will come from the Department for Transport although £12 million will be from Network Rail. This is intended to pay for digital signalling between London King’s Cross and Stoke Tunnel in Lincolnshire, and will be the first installation of ERTMS/ETCS on a British main line outside London.

Network Rail’s operational programme delivery director Andy Jones said: ‘We are delighted with this development funding, which reconfirms the DfT’s commitment to pursuing the Long-Term Deployment Plan for digital signalling on Britain’s railway. 

‘The first three schemes – on the East Anglia route, the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line – will help drive forward the modern railway we all need.’

The Railway Industry Association’s technical director David Clarke added: ‘With around 60 per cent of signalling equipment units on the rail network needing to be replaced over the next 15 years, rail suppliers will need to gear up to ensure they are ‘match fit’ for a significant amount of work.’

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