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Isn't that the very definition of digital?   A system that uses digital processing (ie some sort of software running on some sort of processing platform) to perform a task.

It's used like that although there's no fundamental reason that a computer has to be a binary device (although there are a great many practical reasons for doing so). Indeed it's probably possible, in theory, to create a general purpose programmable analogue computer. General usage vs. strict definition. And if you say you're making something digital people seem to be more likely to want to throw money your way.
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It's used like that although there's no fundamental reason that a computer has to be a binary device (although there are a great many practical reasons for doing so). Indeed it's probably possible, in theory, to create a general purpose programmable analogue computer. General usage vs. strict definition. And if you say you're making something digital people seem to be more likely to want to throw money your way.

When I was at University we had an analogue computer. Very useful for solving differential equations IIRC.

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Isn't that the very definition of digital? A system that uses digital processing (ie some sort of software running on some sort of processing platform) to perform a task.

I suppose that there has been a gradual change of use and I’m showing my age.

 

I remember when watches were either analogue (they used hands on a clock face) or digital (they used digits) to show time. Similarly with speedometers.

 

It irks me that NR and DfT present digital signalling as something new when BR was amongst the world leaders in developing safety critical software and the present still extant part of that business has until recently been pretty shabbily treated. But that’s a different topic.

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Was it a general purpose, Turing-complete machine though? (genuinely asking because I didn't think any analogue ones existed)

Yes it was I think. Valve driven and complete with oscilloscopes. Owned I think by the Physics department. I never used it. As I said I am sure it was primarily used for solving differential equations.

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I am not sure I understand the difference between computerisation and digitisation, in the railway context.

 

It makes more sense if one considers that earlier computerisation was primarily about moving away from physical interlocking, but has gradually developed into making decisions rather than just accident prevention, although the former clearly needs to contain the latter, with a view to more efficient use of capacity and assets, by undertaking functions much faster and more complex than a human can undertake or respond to in adequate time.

 

I guess it was inevitable that some form of shorthand, business jargon would be used to describe a further stage, however inaccurate. 

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  • 4 months later...

in recent news

 

On 26 March the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a grant to Network Rail for the next phase of the European Train Control System (ETCS) Freight Fitment Programme. It will see this programme continue to develop tested and approved designs for installing the ETCS to all 20 types of operational vehicles by end of March 2022. The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, and Her Majesty's Treasury gave approval for £49,985m for this work to be drawn down from the £450m National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) for digital railway acceleration, which was set in the Autumn Statement 2016.

 

This will allow Siemens to complete and test the first in class fitment for freight locomotives in readiness for proposed ETCS level 2 operation without lineside signalling deployments in CP6/7. This is when both infrastructure, freight and passenger trains are upgraded with digital railway technologies.

 

The ETCS Freight Programme

 

The ETCS freight programme aims to convert the freight operating companies (FOCs) to be ETCS capable businesses and a critical enabler for ETCS infrastructure deployment. There are two parts to the programme:

 

Design and development - First in class projects to prove the design and integration of the ETCS on-board equipment to the vehicle; ensure the associated approvals are complete and the design, material supply and instructions are ready for fleet roll out.

Production - Fleet fitment rolls out the proved designs to the fleet over a period of six years, at approximately 120 vehicles per year.

 

The funding of the ETCS freight programme is staged. The previous stage of funding was provided by the DfT in August 2017. This allowed us to enter into a suite of contracts with FOCs for the survey and installation of ETCS onto their locos, and with suppliers Siemens to physically install ETCS onto the locos. However this funding was sufficient for three full first in class projects (design and fit), and a further six completed to the design stage only, completing in March 2020. The additional £50m funding allows the works to continue until March 2022 and covers 20 first in class vehicles. This completes the long 'developmental' work in preparation for fleet fitment.

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