Hitachi’s new intercity trains, due to enter passenger service this autumn, have passed tests to run their digital technology required by the Department for Transport.
The UK-built fleet, known as the Class 800s, is among the first in the country to successfully test an advanced level of digital signalling. The technology is part of the Digital Railway – an industry programme for digital modernisation to increase rail capacity, ease overcrowding and improve performance on Britain’s rail network.
A test train fitted with the digital technology carried out tests at Network Rail’s state-of-the-art signalling facility ENIF* in Hitchin.
Testing at ENIF included recreating real life scenarios experienced on the UK rail network and ensuring the new system met rigorous safety requirements.
Digital solutions to ease overcrowding
Our railway carries twice as many passengers as it did just two decades ago with demand set to rise dramatically in the years ahead. Digital Railway is the industry’s improved plan to tackle Britain’s capacity crunch by accelerating the digital modernisation of the railway, offering capacity and performance improvements sooner, at lower cost and with less disruption than conventional enhancements.
Digital signalling systems feed more continuous information from track side equipment into the driver’s cab, enabling trains to run closer together and creating more regular services.
The digital system tested by Hitachi, known as European Train Control System (ETCS), will inform drivers about how to change their speed as well as about potential hazards ahead.
ETCS is a far cry from the long standing signalling system currently used on the country’s rail network, which operates like traffic lights.
Hitachi’s intercity trains past tests using an advanced level of ETCS called Baseline 3.
Modern intercity trains rolled out across rail network
Hitachi is building and maintaining 122 new trains as part of the Department for Transport’s £5.7bn Intercity Express Programme (IEP)
As part of IEP, new trains will begin running passenger services on the Great Western main line from autumn 2017 and the East Coast main line from 2018. The trains are being built at Hitachi’s UK manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
Following additional orders, Hitachi’s intercity trains will also run on the Transpennine Express route from 2019, as well as connecting London to Devon and Cornwall from 2018.
Andy Rogers, Programme Director for Hitachi Rail Europe, commented on the milestone:
“Our new trains are helping to transform UK rail by using industry leading technology. Passing digital signalling tests is a major breakthrough for the industry and another step towards easing the problem of overcrowding.
“The trains will significantly boost capacity on some of the busiest routes in the country through more seats, greater use of on-board space and pioneering digital technology”
Notes to editors
*ERTMS National Integration Facility
Hitachi tested at ENIF using a five car Class 800 train (800 002).
The train used for testing was fitted with a more advanced version of ETCS than the track side systems. The driver’s cab operated with ETCS Baseline 3, whereas the trackside ran on a level below, Baseline 2, using a different suppliers’ system.
About Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd.
Hitachi Rail Europe Ltd., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Europe, Ltd. and is headquartered in London, UK.
Hitachi Rail Europe is a total railway system supplier offering rolling stock, traction equipment, signalling, traffic management systems, and maintenance depots.
Hitachi draws on many years of experience as a leading supplier of high-speed trains such as the Shinkansen (bullet train) for the Japanese and international markets. In Europe, Hitachi Rail Europe’s first rolling stock contract was to deliver a fleet of 29 Class 395 trains, the first domestic high-speed train in the UK, which are maintained at Hitachi’s state of the art depot in Ashford, Kent. As part of the British Department for Transport’s Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi Rail Europe will replace the UK’s ageing fleet of Intercity trains, and will establish a new rolling stock manufacturing facility in the UK for this purpose. The trains will be maintained and services in a number of new maintenance
depots along the Great Western Main Line and the East Coast Main Line.
For more information about the company, please visit: www.Hitachirail-eu.com .