The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is a European cab-based signalling and train control system that offers significant capacity and performance benefits, as well as further enhancing safety beyond the capability of legacy ATP systems.
ERTMS consists of two primary components; ETCS (European Train Control and Command System); and GSM-R: (the radio communications system to send information to the train).
ERTMS brings long term benefits for the industry such as:
* Significant capacity improvements
* Performance and reliability benefits
* Enhanced safety beyond the capability of legacy ATP systems.
* Reduced life cycle cost of operating the railways
* Compliant with European Interoperability Legislation
Please see the full list of advantages in the benefits section of the website.
It is widely recognised that ERTMS can bring significant capacity benefits. As a continuous communication-based signalling system, ERTMS reduces the headway between trains enabling up to 40% more capacity on currently existing infrastructure. Please see our factsheets section for additional details.
ERTMS reduces the possibility for human error providing a comprehensive automatic train protection (ATP) function, where this does not yet exist.
ERTMS works as a safe monitoring system, continuously supervising the speed of each train according to track and train data. If the actual train speed exceeds the permitted data, brakes are applied automatically. This ensures the train will be stopped in front of the danger point.
This, coupled with the flexibility of ERTMS which can be applied to low-density as well as to high-density lines, is particularly important for countries where ATP systems are not yet widely deployed.
ERTMS is already in commercial services worldwide in more than 10 countries today and more countries are adopting it everyday.
There are 3 levels of ETCS defined of which 2 are already in operation (L1 & L2). The 3rd level, L3, is in a conceptual phase.
Yes - Where ERTMS/ETCS is already installed, say level 1, to upgrade to level 2 mainly involves the addition of the radio network as the balises are already installed.
Yes, because they follow the same specifications to achieve interoperability. This is very important, especially for highly competitive networks where different companies are involved.
Yes, this is the main purpose of ERTMS. Specifications have been agreed by all suppliers and railway companies. Therefore, all ERTMS trains and tracksides equipment are interoperable.
Yes, providing that you use a Specific Transmission Module (STM). However, we recomend to upgrade the network, saving costs and facilitating transit to all ERTMS equiped trains.
The ERTMS specifications have accounted for these and for example with the Eurobalise, specific channels are reserved for national specific use.
Yes, ERTMS offers the possibility to introduce higher-speed services, to decrease headways and to increase the number of connections.
Yes, ERTMS offers this possibility. It is designed for operation up to 500 km/h. The current maximum commercial speed achieved by trains being about 350 km/h.
Yes, there is a strong opportunity to improve both OPEX and CAPEX and thereby improve life cycle cost.
ERTMS have been developed in Europe. Nevertheless, its benefits have been recognised and accepted by many railway networks around the world. ERTMS has proved efficient in solving network problems.
The main driver for ERTMS, in the context of the European Railway Network, is cross-border interoperability. The implementation of a common signalling system will remove barriers to trade and seamless cross-border railway operations.
The European Railway supply Industry, The European Commission, the Railway Undertakings and the Infrastructure Managers.
The suppliers for ETCS are the 6 UNISIG companies: Alstom Transport, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier Transportation, Invensys Rail Group, Siemens Mobility and Thales.
The first initiative started in the early 90's to specify a common system with several organisations within the Railway Industry sector involved and the contribution of the European Union. The current legally biding specifications (as defined in the TSI Control, Command and Signalling) is an outcome of the common effort by the 6 major European Signalling companies under the umbrella of UNISIG.
This is the responsability of the European Railway Agency (ERA).
A change control process operated by ERA exists.
The main advantages with the implementation of ERTMS are: Interoperability between networks, reduced maintenance costs, increased competition among providers, higher speed, no cross border problems and reduced bottlenecks. Please see the full list of advantages in the benefits section of the website.
Every European Country have generated an ERTMS Migration Plan. Several countries are already quite advanced in terms of ERTMS implementation. The European Commission is considering an EU-wide ERTMS deployment plan.
Yes. The European Union, through the mechanisim of the TEN-T programme, Structural and Regional Funds and Cohesion Funds support the development of ERTMS.
See the ERTMS Projects page click here
Depending on the condition and age of the lines, a variety of infrastructure including: interlockings, track-detection, communication systems including GSM-R, etc
The European Union, through the mechanisim of the TEN-T programme, Structural and Regional Funds and Cohesion Funds support the development of ERTMS. In addition, a European ERTMS Coordinator (Karel Vinck) has been appointed to ensure the successful deployment of system. Last but not least, the EU has initiated the creation of the six ERTMS corridors, and is now considering an EU-wide deployment plan.
ERTMS is a vital ingredient for the success of all the selected corridors to ensure seamless cross-border traffic and a common high level of safety.
ERTMS will replace the 7 different on board signalling systems that Thalys has today by only 1. System integration on board will be simplified and operational costs will decrease.
Factors surrounding the quality of life should be enhanced (Power consumption, noise, polution, social costs). By making the rail sector more competitive, ERTMS helps to level the playing field with road transport and ultimately provides significant environmental gains.
Signals are no longer needed because there are other means for controlling the trains' speed and position. We can even say that ERTMS is safer as light signals at the speed of 350 km/h cannot be safely interpreted.