13 May 2022

ERTMS 2022 Conference, Valenciennes

The European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) held its European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) 2022 Conference in Valenciennes, France between 26 and 28 April. UNIFE actively contributed to the Conference’s organisation, with UNISIG General Manager Klaus Mindel, helping shape a workshop convened on the event’s first day and moderating a session on the third.

All the presentations are available on the ERA website.

The first physical rail event since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, ERTMS 2022 successfully brought together more than 500 ERTMS experts representing the European Commission, the Agency, Notifying Bodies, Infrastructure Managers, Railway Undertakings, suppliers, and the wider railway sector. The event was welcomed opportunity to network and to discuss recent experiences with ERTMS from the achievements and lessons learnt, as well as the current work on the CCS TSI (Control Command Signalling Technical Specifications for Interoperability), and the outlook towards the future - with the focus on the System Pillar, Innovation Pillar, and the evolution towards digital rail.

Day 1

As with past editions, the conference’s first day was dedicated to workshops fostering a constructive dialogue within our community. Participants had the chance to attend three out of ten offered workshops. The main conclusions from the workshops were shared by the rapporteurs during sessions held on the conference’s second and third days.

Mr. Mindel, along with representatives from UNISIG companies, organised and moderated Workshop 3 - titled “On-board and trackside architecture as foreseen in the TSI CCS 2022”. The workshop, focusing on the various facets of the TSI for CCS (ERTMS/ETCS Reference Architecture, Trackside Architecture and On-board Architecture), attracted over 45 participants to each of its three repetitions.

Day 2

The second day of the conference kicked off with an opening speech from ERA Executive Director Josef Doppelbauer, followed by presentations by various political speakers such as Members of European Parliament Dominique Riquet and Izaskun Bilbao, European Coordinator for ERTMS Matthias Ruete, and DG Move representatives Keir Fitch, Wawrzyniec Perschke and Marcin Wojcik.

Their interventions highlighted that we are now at a tipping point for rail: making our mode of transportation as successful as possible requires accelerated ERTMS deployment and synchronised on-board and trackside implementation. On one hand, rail is the least carbon intensive transportation mode. However, on the other, other modes are also quickly decarbonising. Therefore, existing incentives must be reinforced - both at the European and national levels - and more mandates should be set in place as per the Trans-European Network - Transport (TEN-T) guidelines. Focus must also be placed on standardisation and modularity to fight against fragmentation with the most rigorous technical capacity.

Day 2 also included interesting presentations on the TSI CCS revision package for 2022 and on EU-Rail’s vision for rail transport.

Day 3

Sessions 4 and 5 on Day 3 centred on feedback from ERTMS projects. Finnish, Norwegian, German, Spanish and Italian Experts took to the stage to showcase technical solutions that contributed to successful ERTMS deployments and highlighted major challenges that lie ahead. They also introduced the future ERTMS game changers: ATO over ETCS, FRMCS and On-board Architecture.

Conference attendees may conclude that ERTMS is THE single European system to which all “national dialects” should gradually migrate to. To achieve the Single European Rail Area (SERA), clear migration paths for class B decommissioning must be set; complexity shall be managed and the right balance between TSI stability, necessary to safeguard the huge investments of railways and suppliers, and innovation should be achieved. The System Pillar provides the opportunity to jointly develop a competitive and attractive railway system in which railways and suppliers can bring together their specific competences under a joint sector perspective that will yield the best resulting services for end users.