UK-based Network Rail has successfully tested a new signalling system with the help of Govia Thameslink Railway’s (GTR) new Siemens Class 700 train at the ETCS National Integration Facility.
As part of Network Rail’s upgrade plan Thameslink Programme ran a Class 700 train through central London using European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 in-cab signalling.
This signalling allowed the trains to be driven automatically between St Pancras and Blackfriars stations, under driver supervision. It can enable operation of up to 24 trains per hour, which are planned to begin in 2018.
Network Rail's project director Paul Bates said: “This is a significant milestone towards enabling the frequency of service that will keep London moving and provide better journeys through the heart of the capital.
“This success is a testament to the integrated and collaborative approach taken by GTR, Siemens and Network Rail, to achieve collective success.”
The company had already tested its in-cab infrastructure last year using a Class 313 test train. GTR Fleet Programmes head John Killeen said: “Ultimately, ETCS will allow us to run our trains under automatic train operation at high frequencies through central London.
“This will create the capacity to run extra Thameslink trains to and from Peterborough and Cambridge, giving passengers fantastic new journey opportunities.”
Overnight testing is set to continue in September this year and the first trials of the automatic train operation (ATO) system will take place between St Pancras and Blackfriars.
Image: Class 700 train at Blackfriars station. Photo: © Network Rail.