Major landmark reached in ETCS testing

Network Rail’s Rail Innovation and Development Centre at Melton Mowbray has carried out its first tests of a train retrofitted with the digital European Train Control System, in preparation for the eventual installation of ETCS on the southern section of the East Coast Main Line. The train was a Class 180 operated by Grand Central and owned by Angel Trains, fitted with Alstom equipment.

ETCS tests have been underway for some years on part of the Hertford loop, using a converted test train and co-ordinated from a laboratory at Hitchin. When the system is installed lineside signals are no longer necessary, with information being provided to drivers on screens in their cabs. The speed of trains is monitored continually and automatically reduced if necessary. Traditional signalling sections are also abolished, because each train moves inside a ‘digital bubble’. Dynamic testing is now set to continue as part of the process to obtain approval and authorisation.

Britain’s railway safety is ‘acceptable’, says Regulator

Britain’s railway remains one of the safest in Europe, according to new Office of Rail and Road data. The rail regulator’s report assesses the safety performance of Britain’s national railway and the achievement of safety targets, concluding that safety was ‘acceptable’ in 2020.

Britain ranks first for ‘whole society’ safety risk, which combines the average number of fatalities and serious injuries in five risk categories for passengers, employees, level crossing users, trespassers and others. For passenger safety, ORR reports that Britain ranks eighth but performs favourably compared to other European countries with networks of a similar size. For the safety of employees Britain comes third when compared to other European countries. The only countries with a lower average number were Ireland and Finland, which have much smaller networks. Britain was also third for level crossing safety, only coming behind Ireland and Switzerland.