Modernisation work on the East Coast Main Line has reached a major milestone following recent engineering work between Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin.

New technology has been successfully commissioned on that part of the line, bringing digital signalling a step closer.

Engineers from Network Rail worked around the clock between Saturday, February 17 and Tuesday, February 20 to complete the work.

Later this year, the first overnight test trains will be operated, with the first digitally-signalled trains running on the line from 2025.


The works, part of the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), will see traditional lineside signalling replaced by digital signalling displayed within train drivers' cabs.

Ed Akers, principal programme sponsor for the ECDP, said: "I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved in reaching this point.

"Digital signalling is the future of the railway, and ECDP will deliver a more reliable and greener railway for passengers in the long term.

“We want to thank passengers for their patience and understanding over recent days while work was carried out.”

A quarter of trains running between Finsbury Park and Moorgate have been digitally-signalled since November as part of the first stage of the ECDP.

Traditional signals are being kept at the side of the track until all drivers are trained and the old system can be switched off, which is expected to happen in 2025.