UK industry regulator Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has approved Hitachi Rail Europe's new European Train Control System (ETCS) for use on passenger services.
Approval was granted after a successul trial was performed in partnership with Network Rail on trains using the Cambrian line, which runs from Shrewsbury to both Pwllheli and Aberystwyth.
Hitachi stated that approval has made it the first train manufacturer in the UK to have its digital signalling system authorised by the rail regulator for use on passenger trains.
Hitachi Rail Europe project director Andy Rogers said: "This is big step forward for digital innovation on the UK rail network and, once implemented, can deliver revolutionary benefits for rail passengers. Hitachi is hugely proud to be the first to achieve this milestone, which is a testament to the hard work of our testing and signalling teams.
“Whether through manufacturing, new rolling stock or upgrading signalling systems, as a total rail systems business Hitachi is at the forefront of modernising the UK’s rail network.”
The new ETCS will be installed in more than 160 new trains, which are currently being built by Hitachi.
The first of these Class 800/801 trains will enter passenger service next year on the Great Western Mainline, as part of the Intercity Express Programme (IEP).
Image: Hitachi Rail Europe pioneering modern in-cab signalling systems for UK passenger services. Photo: courtesy of Hitachi Rail Europe.