From 15-17 October, 2019 the Control Command and Railway Communication Conference (CCRCC2019), organized by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), took place in Valenciennes, France. UNIFE and UNISIG actively contributed to the organization of the Conference. All the presentations are available on ERA website).
Hundreds of Europe’s leading ERTMS experts – from the European Commission, the railway sector, vendors, users, and the Agency – had the opportunity to discuss everything ERTMS related during the event. Participants examined topics ranging from the status of ERTMS’ roll out all across Europe, which has been significantly intensified following the European Commission’s action plan, to new challenges the rail sector is facing, such as digitalisation and the advent of big data.
For the very first time, the Agency gave the participants the opportunity to attend dynamic workshops whose main conclusions were reported by the workshops’ moderators during sessions held on the conference’s second and third days. ERA did this as part of a larger effort to get participants more involved and foster constructive dialogue within our community,
The ERA Conference was built around 5 main ERTMS thematic areas:
- ERTMS deployment > what can be expected for the TSI CCS 2022/2023 release?
- Vehicle Upgrade and vehicle authorisation topics > experience and challenges from current projects.
- ERTMS regulatory and funding framework > status quo, first experience and outlook
- Communication > future railway mobile communication system (FRMCS) and GSM-R migration
- Future transport system – Rail and CCS evolution > digitalisation and big data shaping the future rail system
a) Day 1 / Workshops day
On the first day, Michel van Liefferinge, UNISIG General Manager, moderated workshops focused on ERTMS deployment.
Participants were given the opportunity to share their experiences as a means to identify main issues facing successful ERTMS adoption and propose concrete measures to speed up its deployment. The main issues related to the following thematic areas linked to ERTMS deployment were addressed:
- ERTMS Projects (both trackside and train borne) phases
- ERTMS technical issues / benefits
- Planning of resources (HR, time)
- Deployment & Funding of ERTMS
- CCS TSI Evolutions
b) Day 2 / Sessions day
On the second day, UNISIG kicked-off ERA Conference by moderating Session 1 on ERTMS Deployment.
Experts from Denmark, Belgium, Italy and Spain took the stage to demonstrate how well they have completed ERTMS deployment and what they have planned for the upcoming years.
DG MOVE representatives were also invited to report on the status of the European ERTMS deployment plan.
Attendees conclude that railways form the backbone of multimodal systems and that ERTMS represents the engine of its digital future. Despite some deployment delays over the past few years, it was acknowledged that several ambitious plans to for nationwide ERTMS deployment have recently been announced by many European Member States, namely Belgium, Sweden, Germany and Italy.
c) Day 2 / ERTMS Stakeholders Platform Board Meeting
The EU Agency for Railways (ERA), together with the European Commission (DG MOVE), organised another ERTMS Stakeholder Platform Board meeting. This discussion acted as a follow-up to one held a year ago in Naples.
DG MOVE representatives presented the status of the main points established in the Board Declaration signed the previous year.
The EU Agency for Railways (ERA) proposed to set up a new subgroup of the ERTMS Stakeholder Platform, entirely dedicated to the “ERTMS Game Changers”.
The main objective of this group is to make sure that most of its members will be included in the revision of the CCS TSI, in 2022. The Game Changers subgroup was finally endorsed by the Board members.
d) Day 3 / Political Day
On day 3, UNIFE Director General Philippe Citroën moderated a panel on innovating the railways sector. The sessions’ panelists were asked to explain the main conclusions of the different Conference Sessions.
Participants were also asked to present their associations’ views for the future of railways, especially in the fragmented context of many different initiatives aiming to design the future Control-Command Signalling (CCS) architecture.
e) Day 3 / High Level Lunch event with Matthias Ruete and Henrik Hololei and UNISIG Signalling Directors
On 17 October, Signalling directors from UNISIG companies had the chance to meet again with DG MOVE’s Henrik Hololei and Matthias Ruete to take stock of the progress made on the actions agreed upon during the last meeting in Dublin last June.
It was noted that the priority from the upcoming years will be the simplification of the European Union’s rail framework, in terms of both reduced costs and complexity. This will be based on a number of pillars such as reducing national rules, removing Class B systems, simplifying testing and validation processes and developing a strategic vision for ERTMS-only networks.
DG MOVE representatives pointed out that the near-future CCS system is to be open to improvements and ready to deliver the game changers by 2022. The aim is to do so in a way that permits operators to flexibly add those technologies without being affected by any retrofitting and upgrading issues, as is sometimes happening now with ERTMS implementation.
Suppliers called for a managed evolution of the CCS system, focusing first on the stabilization of baseline 3.6.0. – for which significant investments have been made in the recent years.
It was also concluded that there is common agreement on continuing a smooth ERTMS roll out, pushing for further standardisation, working together to lower the unit costs and aiming for greater simplification of the process and operational rules.
For further information please contact:
Jonathan Cutuli, Jonathan.CUTULI@unife.org