Network Rail has awarded a contract to Hitachi Rail and Linbrooke to design digital signalling technology for the Gloucester area in England.

The Gloucester signalling design contract falls under Hitachi Rail’s Wales and Western Region Major Signalling Renewals Framework.

The Wales & Western region includes more than 4,345km of track and more than 122 million yearly passengers.

The digital Signalling Command Control (SCC) system will replace the current switch panel that was deployed in the 1960s.

It will provide a complete picture of the network and automated updates to the operator.

With this upgrade, Network Rail will be able to respond ‘more effectively’ to any problems or incidents.

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By GlobalData

This will reduce passenger disruption and enhance rail traffic management.

The new technology will help in carrying out fault checking remotely instead of the current process of physical trackside checks.

In the next year, Hitachi, Network Rail and Linbrooke will jointly work to modify the Wayside Standard Platform (WSP HS+) system for the area.

This solution allows trackside equipment management and unifies security, diagnostics and signalling functions under a single control station.

Minor adaption and approval from Network Rail will move the programme into the next phase and deployment of this technology.

Network Rail traffic management sponsor Karen Williams said: “We look forward to working with Hitachi Rail and Linbrooke on this innovative and cost-effective solution to life-extend the signalling assets within the Gloucestershire area, which will provide a safer working environment for our trackside colleagues and improved services for our passengers.”

Separately, the UK Government has restored the Dartmoor Line between Okehampton and Exeter for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The services on the line will officially reopen on 20 November for year-round operations.

The reopening has been implemented under the government’s ‘Restoring Your Railway’ programme, which aims to return old lines and stations to service across the country.

Last month, a consortium led by Thales Ground Transportation Systems won a contract from Network Rail to develop and test fibre optic acoustic sensing technology.