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2016 7 Dec

Driving towards Digital Railway Deployment – Establishing Investment Route by Route

Posted in Future plans Government Industry

Our previous business case work showed that there is a strong case for accelerating the targeted deployment of Digital Railway on Britain’s rail network, based on renewal and capacity need.

The Digital Railway programme is now leading or supporting the development of targeted business cases on eight of the busiest sections on Britain’s rail network. Through using a mix of conventional and digital technologies, we hope to demonstrate that this will cost-effectively solve critical capacity and performance challenges on the railway. By taking this approach we will also be able to understand each route’s specific problems and priorities and demonstrate how Digital Railway could add value to passengers and rail users.

Special thanks to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) for providing key expertise to develop the business cases and supporting the wider Digital Railway programme; representing a truly cross-industry team.

We are working with the Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for London (TfL) and the Network Rail route teams to develop Strategic Outline Business Cases (SOBC).

Each SOBC will seek to identify the renewals and capacity improvements needed over the next decade. These will present a more targeted investment case that specifically analyses the priorities and problems on each route, and identify how technologies can add value.

The Strategic Outline Business Cases currently being developed are:

  • Wessex Route*: addressing a capacity and performance challenge from London Waterloo to Southampton (South West Main Line);
  • Anglia Route*: addressing a capacity and performance challenge from London Liverpool Street to Norwich (Great Eastern Main Line);
  • South East Route*: addressing a performance challenge on the route including the Brighton Main Line (BML);
  • London North East Route*: leveraging the opportunity of renewing life expired assets to meet capacity and performance needs from London King’s Cross to Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (East Coast Main Line);
  • Western Route*: identifying the best way to replace the existing train safety control system (currently Automatic Train Protection) whilst taking into account the wider strategic needs of the route (Great Western Main Line);
  • Anglia Route (Essex Thameside): identify options to meet demand requirements on the route via digital technologies. Also consider commercial/delivery models to deploy;
  • TfL Overground Network: investigating options to increase train frequencies on the East London Line, this is in conjunction with Network Rail and the Digital Railway programme;
  • London North East and London North West (Trans Pennine): being led by the DfT, the Trans Pennine upgrade programme is focusing on improved journey times on the route. This potentially requires digital interventions.­­

* Digital Railway is leading on these five business cases. We plan to have drafted the SOBCs on these for April 2017. They will be taken through the appropriate governance channels with DfT and HM Treasury.