Yesterday they launched the Digital Railway Strategy, committing to ensuring all new trains and signalling are digital or digital ready from 2019.
The first digitally controlled intercity railway with be North Transpennine’s route — Manchester to York.
Five million pounds have been set aside for Network Rail to develop the proposals as part of a £3 billion upgrade of the route starting next year.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, said: “The age of a digital railway has moved from the drawing board and into reality as we reveal a blueprint that will improve the lives of passengers and freight users across the country.”
The government has also earmarked £450 million for digital railway schemes.
Digital signalling will allow more trains to run per hour by running trains closer together, allow more frequent services and cut delays by allowing trains to get moving quicker after disruption.
According to transport minister Chris Grayling MP, this is the biggest modernisation since Victorian times.