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Race on for £1.8bn East Coast Main Line contract

Digital railway bandw

Network Rail is on the hunt for a single supplier to deliver a £1.8bn digital train control system on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) route.

The contract is split into two parts, the first being for the outline design for the new system and the second for the detailed design, build, supply and installation of the system. It also includes the installation of an ancillary conventional signalling system and its long-term maintenance.

The overall scope of the framework is for the entire ECML, which comprises the London North East (LNE) and East Midlands (EM) operational routes.

The train control partner (TCP) will be appointed under an initial four year term that may be extended to up to eight years in annual increments. The contract for design, build and maintenance is envisaged to last for 30 years from system commissioning.

The contract follows an announcement made by transport secretary Chris Grayling and Network Rail in May this year, which set out a joint 15 year digital train control strategy for the whole railway industry.

In July this year, it was also announced that there would be a £780M upgrade to the ECML which would include improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions across the route. This work is due to start next year and will be completed by the early 2020s.

Network Rail is rolling out the digital railway programme in a bid to release “significant” additional capacity on the existing network without building new lines. 

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