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Testing ETCS in the UK

Our V-Train 3 project sucessfully demonstrated onboard ETCS (European Train Control System) equipment in the UK.

Testing ETCS in the UK

Project summary

European Train Control System (ETCS) is a common signalling system which has been developing for the last 15 years to enable train services to cross frontiers and boundaries between different countries without the need to change signalling systems or locomotives. ETCS is part of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and many systems have already been implemented around the world.

Following on from the first UK ERTMS Scheme on the Cambrian Line in 2011, Network Rail followed this with a phased trackside and associated train fitment implementation programme, in order to realise the benefits of a radio based signalling system with a reduced trackside infrastructure.

Hitachi delivered a ‘Verification-Train 3’ project to trial ETCS onboard equipment in the UK. A locomotive (Class 97301) was successfully retro-fitted and tested on Network Rail ETCS infrastructure.

The V-Train 3 project was managed from our London office, with engineering development and signalling system support staff in Japan (Mito Works).

On-time delivery, supported for life

In June 2013 Hitachi Rail Europe announced that its Onboard ETCS solution had successfully connected to the Network Rail Cambrian Line signalling system, and achieved ETCS Level 2 operation.

The Hitachi system was correctly identified on the Network Rail Signalling System and Control Centre in Wales (Machynlleth) without any system failures. The locomotive was driven under its own power with ETCS Level 2 via the GSM-R radio network in various operational modes such as ‘Staff Responsible’, ‘On Sight’, ‘Shunting’ and ‘Full Supervision’.

Richard Tomlin, Signalling Project Manager at Hitachi Rail Europe commented: “We have been working towards this key milestone for some time now and are delighted that we achieved this operation at a very early stage in the project. It gives us the opportunity to prove to the industry that our technology has full interoperability and can communicate with other suppliers’ systems. We are now able to move into the next phase of test running”.

Jim Doughty, Project Manager at Network Rail, added: “The success of the Hitachi trials demonstrates Network Rail’s continued commitment to supporting the purveyors of ETCS Onboard Systems and to providing a fully interoperable ETCS system within the UK.“

Exceptional performance

Once the onboard system is in full use, we will demonstrate a highly reliable and efficient cab-based signalling system which is compatible with the UK infrastructure, such benefits and improvements can then be applied to the overall UK and European signalling industry.