10 Aug New study suggests digital signalling is one of the solutions for Essex’s long-term rail capacity needs
Trenitalia c2c has welcomed the publication of the Essex Thameside Capacity Study by
Network Rail, which confirms that its digital signalling project has been included as one
of the solutions for Essex’s long-term rail capacity needs.
The study was commissioned by Network Rail and developed in partnership with all key
regional stakeholders including train operator Trenitalia c2c, the Department for
Transport, Transport for London, Essex County Council and the Association of South
Essex Local Authorities. The study predicts the growth in rail passenger demand for the
Essex Thameside corridor over the next 30 years, and sets out how that growth could be
accommodated to avoid severe overcrowding. It considered all options: running more
trains on the same track by installing digital in-cab signalling in place of the traditional
trackside signals, which now are a constraint on being able to run extra peak trains;
removing seats in trains to increase standing capacity; and running the same services as
today but with longer trains, requiring significant spend on existing signalling and
expansion of stations.
The study recognises how in-cab digital signalling could allow a crucial increase in train
services (from 20 trains per hour in the peak, to 24 trains), and would deliver more
capacity earlier. That extra capacity could be delivered without the need to reduce seats
or increase standing, and wouldn’t need significant disruptive engineering work.
Importantly it would allow c2c to maintain today’s high level of punctuality – consistently
one of the highest in the country.
The study drew extensively on the expertise of Trenitalia’s digital signalling teams, and
Trenitalia looks forward to championing this project to give c2c’s customers the extra
services and capacity they need as the region grows. To do its work, Trenitalia used the
experience of its parent group, Ferrovie Dello Stato, which now operates trains over
nearly 1,000 Km of track using the same in-cab digital signalling – and in particular, the
engineering consultancy of sister company, Italferr.
Ernesto Sicilia, Managing Director of Trenitalia UK, said: “We are thrilled that our
expertise as train operator of c2c, supplemented with engineering excellence of the entire Ferrovie dello
Stato Group, has combined to produce such a strong solution to the challenges faced by the Essex
Since our arrival in the UK market, we have been focused on delivering innovative solutions to our
customers and to all stakeholders in the rail sector. The implementation of our digital ticketing platform
PICO4UK in 2019, the guarantee of high-quality punctual customer service with c2c and our skilful
competence in the HS2 tender have been unanimously recognised by the market. Our commitment to the
study has been another example of the strategic significance of the UK market and our aim to deliver
quality, safety, and punctuality to all our customers. Our focus on customers remains a priority whilst
bringing the extensive experience of Ferrovie dello Stato Group to the UK market.”