Investment in self-drive trains saw a world first on the UK mainline railway in early 2018.
Meanwhile, new traffic management systems are helping the Thameslink Programme to make more space for passengers and to run services more regularly on existing tracks.
Self-drive trains can run much more often thanks to a sophisticated computer system that ensures safe distances are maintained. The system sees Automatic Train Operation (ATO) used in combination with the European Track Control System (ETCS), and also results in more effective signalling.
The technology is already used on the London Underground; the Thameslink Programme is leading the way in its adoption on mainline railway in the UK. It will deliver real benefits to passengers, allowing trains to operate at a Tube-like speed of every two to three minutes across central London. This is something that is only possible with new digital railway technology.
Watch: Britain’s first self-drive train
Monday 26 March 2018’s 09.46 service from Peterborough to Horsham was the first ever self drive train to run automatically on a main line railway in Britain.
A new Traffic Management System (TMS) will speed up recovery from disruptions, help more trains run on time and cut delays. The TMS re-plans train movements in real time, helping drivers and control staff to better sequence the running order of trains. With this new digital railway technology, up to 24 trains per hour can be handled through central London at peak times between St Pancras International and Blackfriars stations.
Better, real time information
Finally, new digital railway technology also makes it possible for passengers and railway staff to see better, more up-to-date information about journeys. This is thanks to the TMS, which shows more detailed information about traffic flows across the railway network and permits station staff to update customer information displays in real-time.
Introducing new digital railway technology is just one way the Thameslink Programme is transforming north-south travel through London. We’re also improving rail connections, making journeys more reliable, delivering better stations and providing new trains