Transpennine route to become UK’s first ‘digital’ railway

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Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans to install a traffic management system on the Transpennine route, creating what would be the UK’s first digitally controlled intercity rail corridor.

Network Rail is being given up to £5 million to look at the feasibility of implementing digital traffic management between Manchester and Leeds. The money will come out of a £450 million digital railway fund announced in the autumn.

Announcing the upgrade proposal, the Department for Transport (DfT) highlighted the use of in-cab signalling systems on the London Underground, Thameslink and the Elizabeth line. Although it promotes the benefits of in-cab signalling, the announcement only specifically references traffic management for the Transpennine route.

Chris Grayling said: “We are about to see a digital revolution in our railways, and we want the north to lead the way.

“New technology on the Manchester to York route will help us deliver a more reliable and safer railway, with more space for passengers.

“Travel will be transformed across the north as we invest £13bn to improve journeys, expand our motorways, scrap the outdated Pacer trains, and spend £55bn in HS2 to cut journey times between our great northern cities.”