Hitachi’s fleet of new intercity trains has passed tests to run European Train Control Systems (ETCS) in the UK.
The Class 800s are due to enter passenger service this autumn on the Great Western main line and on the East Coast main line from 2018.
ETCS is one component of the Digital Railway programme – an initiative which aims to increase the capacity and performance of the network through digital technologies.
ECTS is a signalling system that continuously feeds information from track-side equipment into the driver’s cab, enabling trains to run closer together. It will also inform drivers about how to change their speed and about potential hazards ahead.
The trains were tested – as required by the Department for Transport – at Network Rail’s ERTMS national integration facility in Hitchin.
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’ equipment.
Hitachi Rail Europe’s programme director Andy Rogers said: “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.”
In total Hitachi is building and maintaining 122 new trains at its UK manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe.