Train Control System Testing

Following the upgrade of the line and the doubling from Old Dalby to Stanton, trials related to the new European Train Control System (ETCS) took place, using two former class 309 Clacton units.

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960102 EMU

Former Clacton class 309 set re-numbered  960102 heads south at Upper Broughton on the low speed ETCS line in April 2003

Andrew Royle

The Class 960 Units were based at the former control centre at Old Dalby

Unit 960101 formerly 309616 was named ' West Coast Flyer'
. DTC 75642 - 977962
. MBS 61937 - 977963
. DTS 75981 - 977964

Unit 960102 formerly 309624 was named 'New Dalby'
. DTC 75965 - 977965
. MBS 61928 - 977966
. DTS 75972 - 977967

The next phase of development at Old Dalby was to have tested the technology and equipment aspects of the Level 2 "no lineside signals" variant of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) recommended by the April 2002 expert team report, endorsed by the Health and Safety Commission in 2003.

However following the demise of Alstom the line was mothballed and there was no further ETCS testing at the test track. It was a 'dead duck' as far as the test track was concerned and subsequently Network Rail removed all of its infrastructure installed for ETCS development, including a mock-up signalling centre at Asfordby.

The first trial installation on Network Rail will be on the Cambrian lines between Shrewsbury , Aberystwyth and Pwhelli which was planned to be up and running by early 2007, but this didn't happen. In late 2006 it was announced that NR had let the contract for the equipment to the Italian firm of Ansaldo and by the end of 2007 the conversion of a Class 158 unit was underway. NR also acquired four class 37 locos to be similarly converted and two of these are now operational but not as ETCS locos.

In November 2010 it was finally announced that the 'Early Deployment' scheme was finally up and running - but only for part of the route. Twenty YEARS after the initial installations of ATP on GWML and Chiltern! Once again we are the laughing stock of Europe!

If you want to know about the original Old Dalby set up planned for ETCS testing look here.

ETCS no more

Former Clacton class 309 set 960102 heads through Southend on 28th August 2004 en route for the Bay of Pigs, Shoeburyness.


The Class 309 units were withdrawn and stored at Shoeburyness in early 2005. In 2009 they were rescued by the Electric Railway Museum at Coventry but following its closure I am not sure whether these units still exist.


News in late 2014 suggests that NR will return to Old Dalby and equip the line with GSM-R and an ERTMS system (to be decided by testing) and an HST is also rumoured to be amongst the trains which will be tested there.

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