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2016 24 May

Hearing the case for Digital Railway: Mark Carne gives supporting evidence to the Transport Select Committee

Posted in Government

Mark Carne, chief executive, gave evidence to the Transport Select Committee on Monday (23 May) to explain the case for the Digital Railway programme, as part of its inquiry into rail technology. He was joined by Andrew Simmons, chief systems engineer, Digital Railway, and Alistair Gordon, technology and operations, Rail Delivery Group.

The committee inquiry focuses on two of the key technologies for Digital Railway – the European Train Control System (ETCS) and the European Railway Traffic Management System.

Opening the session, Mark said: “The Digital Railway is not about a new railway – it’s about how do we make the best of what we’ve already got. How can we make sure that we can run more trains on the existing network?

“We believe that by transforming the way in which we control the trains on the track, we can run many more trains on the existing network and thus partly help to meet the increasing capacity [challenge].”

Questions and answers

Committee members posed a number of questions to Mark, Andrew and Alastair, including the history of ETCS, the reasons why an integrated deployment of Digital Railway is necessary, the business case for Digital Railway and the benefits it will bring.

Ongoing collaboration across the rail industry will be crucial in delivering Digital Railway. He said: “This isn’t a Network Rail programme, it is an industry wide programme – everything has to change.”

When asked about costs, Mark explained that the business case was still under development.

The transcript of the session can be found here

What’s next?

The committee will be holding more oral evidence sessions and will release their report later this year. The evidence was recorded and can be watched here.