15 September 2010 – UNIFE released today the first edition of its “ERTMS Freight Corridors Tracker”, highlighting the progress made to build a fully-interoperable and competitive rail freight network in Europe.
“Whilst ERTMS has been successfully deployed on a large number of High-speed lines in Europe and has become a worldwide success, some countries are deliberately preventing the creation of interoperable freight corridors in Europe by not equipping their lines”, says Michael Clausecker, UNIFE Director-General. “The European Commission must act to ensure that the deadlines contained in ERTMS Deployment are met. It is not acceptable that a small minority of countries prevent the others from advancing towards interoperability. In the end, the only winner of today’s situation is road transport, which continues to enjoy a favorable competitive position”.
The data released by UNIFE shows that whilst the European ERTMS deployment plan foresees the gradual installation of ERTMS along six corridors in 2015 and 2020, only few freight lines have been equipped so far.
“Also Germany in the heart of Europe has to fulfill the liability for the European ERTMS deployment plan”, says Ronald Pörner, Managing Director of the German Railway Industry Association (VDB). “Four of six ERTMS corridors are crossing Germany. The German government is committed the equipment of these four corridors – it should now take the necessary financial and technical steps to reach this objective.”
The situation of the ERTMS deployment contrasts with both the situation on High-speed lines, which are successfully running with ERTMS in countries like Spain, Italy or Belgium, and the global success of ERTMS – which is being adopted in countries as diverse as China, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Mexico or New Zealand.
As far as European freight traffic, the installation of ERTMS often poses a different challenge as ERTMS installation comes in addition to a pre-existing signalling system, and only brings its full benefits if investments are well-coordinated and implemented along an international freight route. For this reason, UNIFE and VDB backs the EU-coordinated approach contained in the European Deployment Plan, and urges the Member States to support the deadlines contained in this plan.