Signalling & control systems

Network Rail owns and operates one of the world’s most heavily used railways – accommodating 1.5 billion passenger journeys and 7 million train movements every year. The control, management and safety of each train movement depends on our signalling and control systems.

Signalling & control systems

Our challenge is to achieve high levels of operational safety and performance through the implementation of reliable and cost-effective signalling, command and control systems. Network Rail achieves this through a range of technologies, including:

  • European Rail Traffic Management Systems (ERTMS), Global System for Mobile Communications – Railway (GSM-R) and Automatic Train Protection (ATP)
  • level crossing signalling and protection systems
  • interlocking, trackside systems, staff protection and remote asset condition monitoring systems.

Signalling & control systems

You can access our experience in signalling and control systems throughout the complete project lifecycle, including:

  • concept design and feasibility
  • business case preparation and review
  • operational planning and programme management
  • application and engineering standards development
  • risk and value engineering
  • systems modelling, engineering, integration and review
  • implementation, assurance and commissioning
  • system deployment, system verification and validation
  • safety case and pre-commissioning review
  • operational readiness planning
  • safety certification management
  • asset management
  • economic and technical evaluation of whole-life asset performance and performance improvement
  • system performance and RAMS modelling
  • system upgrade and obsolescence management
  • incident investigation and analysis
  • scheme stagework design
  • new technology introduction.
  • European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)

    The ERTMS Early Deployment Scheme commissioned in 2011 on the Cambrian line was the pilot for Level 2 deployment in the UK.

    Lineside signals have been replaced with in-cab signalling, and automatic train protection has been implemented. The project will reduce costs, improve performance and enhance safety. ERTMS is being rolled out on the Great Western Main Line as part of the large-scale re-signalling and route electrification; on Thameslink to support the achievement of 24 trains per hour operation through Central London and then on the East Coast Mainline to improve capacity and accommodate new rolling stock.

    We have built an ERTMS National Integration Facility to support ETCS development, simulation and dynamic testing.

  • Thameslink 

    The £ 5 billion Thameslink Programme will improve and expand the existing Thameslink service through London with infrastructure upgrades, new signalling and rolling stock. Network Rail is pioneering ERTMS with an Automatic Train Operation overlay to provide a reliable capacity of 24 trains per hour through the Thameslink Central London section.

  • West Coast Route Modernisation 

    The £9 billion West Coast Route Modernisation programme was completed in 2008 and covered 430 route miles. 2149 signals, 837 switches and crossings and 77 level crossings using 64 computer based interlocking systems were upgraded or re-built. Outcomes included higher capacity, better safety and reduced journey times.

  • Modular Signalling 

    Network Rail is pioneering modular signalling, providing significant cost savings for the delivery of smaller signalling renewals projects. The Shrewsbury to Crewe modular scheme replaced seven mechanical signal boxes with a single control desk at the South Wales Control Centre. It incorporated a new signalling interlocking system, train detection axle counters, Automatic Warning System (AWS) equipment, lightweight signals and new equipment housings, all designed to simplify installation and reduce maintenance costs.

  • Risk Based Maintenance (RBM) 

    Legacy maintenance regimes often fail to account for the operating environment required or the criticality of the asset. This can lead to increased costs and problems with asset reliability.

    Network Rail has pioneered the use of risk based maintenance to target the most important components and increase the reliability of assets. RBM has been applied within to signalling and control, with 131,000 signalling assets now subject to RBM, generating savings of £5.5 million per year.