27 March 2018

1st UIC Global Conference on Signalling – The evolution of ERTMS

The 1st UIC Global Conference on Signalling co-organised by UIC and Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane (FS Group), focussing on “The Evolution of ERTMS” took place on 26 and 27 March in Milan.

Roughly 500 participants, from all five continents and from different sectors gathered to discuss about the evolution of ERTMS and address the main challenges ahead.

The conference was opened by several high-level keynote speakers preceded by the official welcome of the Mayor of Milan, Mr Giuseppe Sala.

Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC, recalled there is the need to share the worldwide experiences, to work together and give rail transport the unique chance to be the cost-effective backbone for the expected growth of sustainable transport of goods and people.

Renato Mazzoncini, Chairman of UIC and CEO of FS Group, pointed out that the pioneering phase is over and ERTMS has become an industrial product, stable and well adapted to our current needs. However, more investments are needed to succeed with the challenges we are facing, as well as further cooperation with the EIB and the World Bank, with the Chinese Investment Bank and other institutions willing to boost rail transport, he said.

Karel Vinck, EU Coordinator for the ERTMS overall program, described ERTMS as financially justified, as showed by the latest version of ERTMS business case even though migration from legacy systems to ERTMS remains a significant problem. Karl Vinck recalled that considering a full interoperability would enable 1.5% of the economy growth in the European Union, the shorter the migration from legacy systems to ERTMS the better.

Libor Lochman, Executive Director of the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), highlighted the need to accelerate ERTMS deployment through a coordinated and committed EU ERTMS programme and a clear funding to make rail competitive and attractive for customers.

Philippe Citroën, Director General of the Association of the European Rail Supply Industry (UNIFE), took stock of the most important recent ERTMS developments and discussed the way forward from the supplier’s perspective. He also thanked Commissioner Violeta Bulc for her strong commitment in recognising ERTMS as a cornerstone of digitalising the rail sector and a key step towards achieving a single and safe European Railway Area.

Josef Doppelbauer, Executive Director of the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA), pointed out that rail is competing with other transport sector where a global unique signalling system is already a reality and ERTMS has by all means the potential to become the global reference standard for signalling in the rail sector.

Massimiliano Salini, Member of the European Parliament, concluded the introduction recalling that the European institutions have always supported ERTMS and keep promoting this technology as the only global signalling standard worldwide.

The conference was structured around 7 different sessions, each of them focussing on a specific topic. During the first day in Session 1, the speakers shared their views on the main funding challenges for financing the ERTMS deployment and discussed further about adopted strategies worldwide and new opportunities. In Session 2, chaired by Michel Ruesen, speakers were given the chance to present the status of the ERTMS implementation in their countries/region, while in the Session 3, chaired by Philippe Citroen, different views on the EU regulatory context for ERTMS and other Global opportunities for CCS deployment were shared.

The second day of the conference was mainly focused on technical topics. Panellists had the possibility to discuss about the current status of development and integration of ERTMS with the Automatic Train Operation system (ATO), as well as the integration with the Automatic Train Supervision (ATS) during Session 4, chaired by Pio Guido. An entire session was then dedicated to Future Railway Mobile Communication System, aiming to take stock of the migration from GSM-R, whose lifetime is expected to last till roughly 2030, to FRMCS (Session 5, chaired by Robert Scarfati). In the 6th session, moderated by Efim Rosenberg, the current technical trends and main projects for the development of Level 3 were discussed, together with the opportunities and constraints of the parallel integration of Satellite based facilities. In the last session, moderated by Michel Van Liefferange, speakers were invited to present the most advanced researches and adopted techniques to guarantee the security against the cyber-attacks.

At the end of the Conference, participants were offered two different technical visits: a visit to the Milano Greco Pirelli Control room, and a journey on the FS Frecciarossa 1000 driving cabin followed by a visit to the Bologna Centrale Control room.