Mott MacDonald explores limited rail supervision in UK

08 April 2015

Consulting firm Mott MacDonald is investigating the potential implementation of the Limited Supervision functionality of the European Train Control System in the UK, a functionality that allows for the simplified cross-border railway travel between EU member states. The research will be taken into consideration by the UK rail industry to reflect on the potential role of Limited Supervision in the country.

Railway supervision
At present stage, there are 20 different forms of train protection and signalling systems used throughout Europe. To standardise and simplify cross-border railway travel between EU member states, the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) has been developed. The ERTMS aims at turning the different systems into one single system, as a result of which, interoperable train operation will be possible across all member states, resulting in increased international freight and passenger transport services. The new Limited Supervision functionality of the European Train Control System (ETCS) is part of this effort.

The ETCS is currently rolled out across Europe and the UK also has plans to implement the system across the entire railway network. To investigate the potential opportunities for implementation in the country, consulting firm Mott MacDonald has been hired by industry stakeholder company RSSB.

Mott MacDonald explores Limited Supervision UK

Mott MacDonald
Mott MacDonald recently completed the first stage of the research, which consisted of an investigation of the existing installations of the new Limited Supervision functionality on systems in Switzerland. The firm also undertook a detailed review of UK rail stakeholders including RSSB, Network Rail and various passenger and freight train operators to determine the requirements and identify potential benefits of utilising Limited Supervision in the UK.

“We’ve investigated new and innovative ways of utilising existing and future technology to achieve a more efficient operation of the railway. Limited Supervision could be utilised as part of the national ETCS strategy to simplify deployment or as a more cost-effective alternative to radio token systems,” explains Robert Gray, Project Director at Mott MacDonald.


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