New railway signalling along the railway between New Barnet and the Wood Green area has been commissioned, as part of the billion-pound East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP) upgrade.

(c) Network Rail

The upgrade was announced in 2020 and will remove outdated lineside signalling and replace it with the European train control system (ETCS) that will be rolled out initially across the southern section of the line – from London’s King’s Cross to the Stoke Tunnels, just south of Grantham.

The East Coast Mainline — which links London to Edinburgh — was chosen for the upgrade as a third of the population lives within 20 minutes’ reach of one of its stations, together producing 41% of the total UK’s GDP. There’s also the advantage that many of the newer trains in use on this railway are already fitted with or easy to upgrade to work with the new signalling system.

The commissioning of the latest section of signalling is aimed at boosting reliability right now, and as it’s ready for a future digital upgrade, is a step towards operating passenger trains with digital signalling on the nearby Finsbury Park to Moorgate route (Northern City Line) later this year.

New lineside equipment and technology, that underpins the systems involved with providing digital signalling directly to the driver’s cab, has also been installed between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin in Hertfordshire. The work on this section of route enables further progress towards it becoming the first part of the East Coast Main Line to operate with digital signalling.

The signalling upgrade was completed over the past weekend when the line was closed. During the line closures, the opportunity was also taken to carry out other maintenance works, as well as repairs to the footbridge at Harringay station.

Ed Akers, Network Rail’s Principal Programme Sponsor, ECDP, said: “The work carried out this weekend in London and Hertfordshire provides a big step forward towards a next generation railway that is fit for the future.”

It’s expected that the railway signalling upgrade will be completed, in phases by 2029.


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One comment
  1. John Usher says:

    Ahhh! – At what point will this incorporate the Hertford Loop, up to Stevenage? If Finsbury Park and Welwyn-Hitchen are already in place, could that in theory, be in operation before the section from New Barnet-Welwyn is complete?

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