ETCS for EMR bi-modes

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Now with ETCS: visual of Class 810 bi-mode to be built by Hitachi for East Midlands Railway.

The bi-mode trains ordered by Hitachi for East Midlands Railway’s Midland main line services will be fitted with European Train Control System (ETCS) following a £12 million investment announced by Government.

EMR has ordered 33x5-car Class 810s from Hitachi, financed by Rock Rail. The units were originally ordered with space provision for ETCS but without the kit installed. Rachel Turner, Head of New Trains for EMR, told Modern Railways the changed followed discussions with the Department for Transport around plans for digital signalling on the Midland main line, which according to the Government will be rolled out from 2026.

Ms Turner said the system deployed on EMR’s ‘810s’ will be a newer iteration of that installed by Hitachi on LNER’s Azuma trains; the rollout of digital signalling on the East Coast main line is due to start in 2022. She praised the decision to fit the equipment from new, saying this would avoid a disruptive retrofit once the trains are in service.

All the ‘810s’ will be built by Hitachi at its Newton Aycliffe plant in County Durham, with construction of five pre-series units due to get underway in January 2021. Under agreement with Hitachi the ETCS equipment will be tested at Network Rail’s Melton test track, with these tests involving the pre-series units prior to entry into service.

The Covid pandemic has caused a delay to EMR’s new trains programme, with the operator now expecting to receive its first ‘810’ for testing in mid-2022 and the first train due to be accepted from Hitachi in January 2023. When the ‘810s’ enter service, they will initially operate under conventional signalling until the lineside equipment for ETCS is in place.