Waterloo station will provide a ‘metro-style’ service within the next 10 years, according to Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne.
The rollout of Network Rail’s Digital Rail Strategy will lead to a greater number of trains being operated on the UK’s existing rail network.
Waterloo has been earmarked as a key driver, with plans to make the whole track 64km from Waterloo station ETCS (European Train Control System) ready during CP7.
Speaking at the launch of the new strategy, Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said: “The whole track 40 miles [64km] from Waterloo will be ETCS within 10 years, providing the potential for a metro style service into Britain’s biggest commuter station. That is transformative.”
Carne said that moving barriers and providing better equipped entrances and exits would help to deal with the additional passenger loads that running such a service would provide.
“Of course digital rail is only a part of the overall project. At Waterloo, you would have to move barriers and plan different exits in order to account for the extra passengers.
“What you do not want is to end up with a situation like you currently have at Liverpool Street, where you can wait on the platform for up to five minutes because it is overcrowded.”
The rollout of the digital strategy to transform all rail signals to the ETCS system will first be rolled out during the Transpennine upgrades, due to start next summer.
The upgrades will then be rolled out across all urban areas.
“In urban areas this means passengers will be able to turn up and go on a metro-style service more similar to the tube than to the railway we see today, with real-time information customised for every passenger,” Carne added.
“It means more reliable journeys because of our ability to better predict and prevent failures on the network. And it means a more flexible railway which, when married with traffic management, can dramatically reduce knock-on delay – now the largest single cause of train disruption.”