30 September 2014

Focus on ERTMS deployment and interoperability

ERTMS High-Level Dialog-Forum at InnoTrans 2014

The ERTMS High-Level Dialog-Forum organised by UNIFE and VDB successfully gathered 100 participants on 25 September in the framework of Innotrans 2014 at MESSE Berlin. This event was the occasion to provide a snapshot of the current status of the ERTMS implementation in Europe and worldwide.

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Stability of specifications to guarantee investments

The issue of the stability of the specifications of ETCS was at the heart of this session moderated by Michel Van Liefferinge, General Manager of UNISIG. Patrizio Grillo, Acting Head of Unit for the Single European Railway Area (European Commission - DG MOVE) said that ensuring a stable standard in order to guarantee the future deployment of ERTMS was a major priority for the European Commission.

This strategic aspect was also shared by Klaus Mindel, Chairman of the UNIFE ETCS Steering Committee. He highlighted the concept of backward compatibility, which is at the core of the strategy of the European rail manufacturing industry, in order to preserve the significant investments already made by Railway Undertakings. Backward compatibility ensures that vehicles equipped with Baseline 3 can run on Baseline 2 trackside equipment and is fully part of the last maintenance release of Baseline 3. For UNIFE, safeguarding investments and managing the evolution of the specifications will help to speed up the deployment of ERTMS.

Positive business case for the deployment of ERTMS

This Forum was also the occasion for representatives from Railway Undertakings and Infrastructure Managers to share their vision on ERTMS. Luc Lallemand, CEO of INFRABEL, presented the Belgian company’s strategy for implementing ETCS in the country, by 2022. Andrew Simmons, Technical Director, National Operating Strategy, Network rail, on his side, put the emphasis on the key drivers for deploying ETCS in Great Britain: increase of safety and capacity, network optimisation and cost. Both shared the opinion that ERTMS provides a sound business case for an increased operational capability, remove barriers for interoperability and enhanced safety of the railway system. Emin Karaman, from Turkish State Railways (TCDD) also presented the operational and economic benefits obtained by deploying ETCS, in Turkey.

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