Can I increase the number of trains on my line?

Yes, ERTMS offers the possibility to introduce higher-speed services, to decrease headways and to increase the number of connections.

Can I run an ERTMS equipped train on my current network?

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.

Can you upgrade from one ERTMS level to another?

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.

Does the EC continue to support the introduction of ERTMS and how?

Yes. The European Union, through the mechanisim of the TEN-T programme, Structural and Regional Funds and Cohesion Funds support the development of ERTMS.

ERTMS – What is it?

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.

How can changes to the specification be introduced?

A change control process operated by ERA exists.

How critical is ERTMS to Corridor A – Rotterdam to Genova and for the other 5 identified critical corridors?

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.

How do I cope with national specific requirements with a standard European product?

The ERTMS specifications have accounted for these and for example with the Eurobalise, specific channels are reserved for national specific use.

How does ERTMS work?

How has the specification been generated and developed?When did it start?

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.

I am a supplier of ERTMS products, but not a member of UNISIG. Am I allowed to use the logo?

Specific criteria will apply, such as the ability to deliver ERTMS-compliant products – please see enclosed Code of Conduct for more information. In any case, you should first establish contact with the UNIFE Secretariat.

Is it really possible to take away the track-side light signals?

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.

May I pick up the ERTMS logo from loc.ertmsnew and use it in my communications material?

One of the main benefits for ERTMS look at increasing capacity. Potentially what is this increase in capacity?

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.

What are the commercial advantages achieved from introducing ERTMS?

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.

What are the objectives of the ERTMS logo?

The objectives and purposes of the ERTMS logo are defined as follows:

  • To demonstrate the commitment both technically and financially of like-minded and capable, World Class signalling companies to introduce ERTMS standard products and systems on a Global and interoperable basis.
  • To generate within the Licensed Users group a sense of responsibility and ownership in the manner of use of the logo and a sense of joint responsibility for the correct use, protection and advancement of the logo in the world market by all Licensed users.
  • To promote the introduction or extension of ERTMS technology into a market location by a recognised ERTMS supplier.
  • To provide confidence to non-implementers of ERTMS technology that positive deployment of ERTMS into their national rail development plans for both infrastructure and onboard applications will be technically and commercially beneficial.

What different levels of ETCS are there?

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.

What involvement does the EC have in extending the introduction of ERTMS? Corridors, freight, new EC accession territories

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.

What is the action plan to introduce ERTMS? Who else needs to be involved or to participate?

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.

What is the safety case for ERTMS?

ERTMS reduces the possibility for human error providing a comprehensive automatic train protection (ATP) function, where this does not yet exist.

What level of implementation has now been achieved? E.g Length of track commissioned or committed, numbers of vehicles commissioned or committed?

See the ERTMS Projects page click here

What longer term national benefits can be expected following ERTMS implementation? E.g employment, environmental, economical

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.

What other infrastructure improvements need to made at the same time to achieve optimised operational performance?

Depending on the condition and age of the lines, a variety of infrastructure including: interlockings, track-detection, communication systems including GSM-R, etc

When will ERTMS be ready?

ERTMS is already in commercial services worldwide in more than 10 countries today and more countries are adopting it everyday.

Which suppliers are involved?

The suppliers for ETCS are the 6 UNISIG companies: Alstom Transport, Ansaldo STS, Bombardier Transportation, Invensys Rail Group, Siemens Mobility and Thales.

Who controls the specification standards and maintains all aspects for interoperability?

This is the responsability of the European Railway Agency (ERA).

Who has sponsored the development of the standards and the specifications?

The European Railway supply Industry, The European Commission, the Railway Undertakings and the Infrastructure Managers.

Who is allowed to use the ERTMS logo?

Why is ERTMS it needed?

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.

Why is the ERTMS logo legally protected?

Just like any product’s logo, there was a need to avoid misuses. This would for example be caused by companies claiming to have ERTMS-compliant products when this is not the case, third parties selling low quality, unreliable material that could damage ERTMS’ image, etc.

Why should the rail industry invest in ERTMS?

ERTMS brings long term benefits for the industry such as:

Will a train equipped with ERTMS in one country be able to run on any track equipped with ERTMS worldwide?

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.

Will ERTMS be accepted as a standard globally?

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.

Will ERTMS reduce journey times?

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.

Will I be able to buy a product, say Eurobalises, from any supplier or more than one supplier?

Yes, because they follow the same specifications to achieve interoperability. This is very important, especially for highly competitive networks where different companies are involved.

Will I have to pay a fee?



Will it reduce my operational costs?

Yes, there is a strong opportunity to improve both OPEX and CAPEX and thereby improve life cycle cost.

Would ERTMS help Thalys?

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.