A strategy to increase capacity on Britain’s railways by running trains closer together has been published by RSSB.
Among the key challenges facing the UK railway is how to reduce the gap between trains – known as 'headway' - without compromising safety.
RSSB’s research highlights critical improvements, both in terms of operations and rolling stock, required for the introduction of 'closer running' using a moving block signalling system, which could safely reduce headway. Under moving block signalling, computers maintain a safe “envelope” around each train as it moves, rather than the less efficient blocks dictated by fixed signalling systems.
Growth in capacity, which could provide an opportunity to reduce passenger congestion, will be incremental, the report recognises. The introduction of the improvements could start within five years and will take up to 30 years to complete. Until it is implemented, RSSB will monitor other industries for compatible emerging technologies that could be adopted to expedite the changes.