06 June 2020

Highlights from last ERTMS Stakeholders Platform Board conference call and 1st ERTMS Work Plan

On 3 June, the ERTMS Stakeholders Platform Board convened ‘virtually’ to discuss the latest, most important ERTMS developments.

The European Commission and the European Railway Agency (ERA) opted for the Platform Board to officially present European ERTMS Coordinator Matthias Ruete’s first ERTMS Work Plan.

In his exhaustive document, Mr Ruete evaluates the current ERTMS deployment status by explaining its positive business case and outlining existing funding possibilities. He also envisaged next steps in ERTMS’ evolution.

The Work Plan highlights that we are at a critical point for ERTMS deployment in Europe and abroad. Climate change, digitalisation and the need for an industrial renewal all necessitate the system’s accelerated implementation. Deployment, both trackside and on-board, has to be sped up with strong support from EU Member States throughout the entire European rail network by 2030, not only on the Core Network Corridors (CNC). Providing a reliable and stable European funding framework for ERTMS deployment will be essential in the coming years. UNIFE welcomes Mr. Ruete’s first ERTMS Work Plan and fully shares his belief that this is a crucial moment for the system’s European deployment. European institutions and its 27 Member States must provide adequate political and financial support for ERTMS deployment in the coming years. Additionally, UNIFE recommends updating the ERTMS deployment action plan to make the comprehensive wishlist of measures happen in the coming years.

The European Commission also presented its proposal for the future CCS Framework, with a focus on its governance and the future role of Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking (JU).

At the basis of this initiative, there is a concrete opportunity to move towards a genuinely integrated European CCS system beyond the current specifications in the CCS TSI, with greater standardisation and less variation than in its current form. This would resolve some difficulties being experienced attempting to align customer and supplier interests, particularly during the “design phase”.

The future JU is expected to act as the single coordinating body to bring the whole sector together to develop operational concepts, functional system architecture, and associated specifications and standards, as well as consolidating and coordinating current initiatives like RCA, Smartrail, EULYNX and OCORA. Notably, the development of the overall operational concept and functional system architecture should happen within the so-called “System Pillar” and in coordination with the “Innovation pillar”. The aim of the latter is to deliver user-focussed research, innovation, and demonstration - including delivery of projects - providing well defined input to the system pillar.

The proposal was well received by all sector representatives. However, there are still some open questions concerning how activities to be performed under the umbrella of the System Pillar will be funded, especially as they promise to be challenging.

For further information, please contact UNISIG/ERTMS Manager Jonathan Cutuli.