DB Cargo UK has started the installation of the latest version of the European Train Control System (ETCS) on a Class 66 locomotive, as part of the East Coast Digital Programme.

The Doncaster-based Electro-Motive Diesel’s engineering workshop is being used for the technological transformation of DB Cargo UK’s Class 66 locomotive.

Said to be a significant milestone in the roll-out of the new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS in the rail freight sector), the ‘first-in-class’ fitment is expected to be completed in six months.

The East Coast Digital Programme, a cross-industry partnership led by Network Rail, is coordinating the roll-out of the new technology.

The government allocated a further £1bn to implement the first phase of ERTMS on a 100-mile stretch of the East Coast Main Line from London Kings Cross to just south of Grantham.

The country’s largest rail logistics provider, DB Cargo UK is the first freight operator selected to deploy ETCS on its Class 66, 67, 60, and 325 fleets.

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DB Cargo UK chief transformation and digitalisation officer Marie Hill said: “DB Cargo UK, working in close partnership with our colleagues at Siemens Mobility and Network Rail, is delighted to be playing a pioneering role in the roll-out of ERTMS and ETCS which will use digital technology to create a more dynamic, more reliable, and more flexible railway here in the UK.

“Increased digitalisation and automation of our assets and processes will ensure we can continue to deliver, fast, efficient, reliable services fit for the 21st century and beyond.”