News & Events-Frazer-Nash helping to inform Transpennine upgrade planning


Frazer-Nash has provided expertise to railway system supplier Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe’s study for Network Rail, looking at the potential options for upgrading the Transpennine Route to the European Train Control System (ETCS).

The upgrade aims to increase the headway of the Transpennine Route, allowing additional trains to be run along the line. The study, which was part-funded by the Digital Railway programme, asked participants to develop simulations showing how implementing ETCS on the route could potentially reduce the number of civil engineering modifications needed to achieve the same reduction in headway.

Frazer-Nash was part of a Hitachi group project team responsible for delivering the project, with operational input and modelling tools provided by Hitachi. The company was also asked to propose implementation strategies for the potential ETCS solutions.

Karl King, Frazer-Nash Senior Consultant on the project, said: “We were asked to help with this project because of our expertise in two key areas: ETCS and migration strategies. Our novel whole-systems approach, rather than simply overlay ETCS onto the existing layout, modelled a layout from scratch that would ensure the control system could perform to its optimum ability.

“Using mathematical modelling, we created a new design tool that optimised the block section lengths for ETCS Level 2 designs for plain line, junctions and station platforms.

“We validated our model against a section of track, comparing the current layout with our optimised one. It showed that the optimised design would enable an increase in the number of trains that could go through that section. Our findings showed that, while some infrastructure modifications were essential, the implementation of ETCS could potentially allow some work to be avoided whilst achieving the required improvements in headway.”

“We also helped develop a robust migration strategy for implementing ETCS on the Transpennine Route. Hitachi’s study, alongside that of other suppliers, is now under consideration by Network Rail.”