First ETCS ‘180’ tested at RIDC

An ETCS-fitted Class 180 at NR's Rail Innovation & Development Centre.

The first Class 180 DMU to be fitted with European Train Control System onboard equipment is being tested at Network Rail’s Rail Innovation & Development Centre (RIDC) at Melton.

This First in Class (FiC) fitment is a crucial part of making existing fleets work under ETCS, which is being deployed on the southern section of the East Coast main line as part of the East Coast Digital Programme.

Grand Central's Class 180, owned by Angel Trains, completed FiC testing and accumulated endurance running to prove the reliability of the Alstom ATLAS 2 onboard system. The trackside ETCS system at Old Dalby has also been supplied by Alstom.

The onboard kit fitted to the ‘180’ is the first tested at RIDC which is compliant with ETCS standard Baseline 3 Release 2, which is required for the East Coast Digital Programme. It is the first onboard system which supports Packet 44, which enables operation with UK-specific issues such as distances measured in miles.

Later this year, the Class 180 will be commissioned into ETCS Level-NTC (National Train Control) – the next step to supporting full ETCS operation on the ECML in the future.