16 April 2012

UNIFE welcomes rail sector commitment to ERTMS

Copenhagen,  16 April 2012  - UNIFE, the European Rail Industry, welcomed today the signature of a new Memorandum of Understanding on ERTMS involving the European Commission, the European Railway Agency and the railway associations (CER, UIC, UNIFE, EIM, GSM-R Industry Group and ERFA) during a Danish  Presidency event in Copenhagen, which has been jointly chaired by Danish Transport Minister Henrik Dam Kristensen and Commission
Vice-President Siim Kallas.

"Significant progress has been achieved since the signature of the previous Memorandum of Understanding in 2008" explained UNIFE Chairman Henri PoupartLafarge. "Whilst the Baseline 3 specifications for ERTMS have been delivered according to schedule, ERTMS has come into operation in an increasing number of countries in Europe and beyond, establishing itself as a global standard.  I am confident that this baseline 3 will accelerate further the needed ERTMS deployment in the whole Europe".

The Memorandum of Understanding foresees a number of measures to further facilitate ERTMS deployment, in terms of maintenance and stability of the specifications, technical harmonisation, homologation and testing of the equipment. It also underlines the need for strong policy measures, such as the upgrade of the equipment to an interoperable Baseline or the strict implementation of the ERTMS Deployment Plan, according to which major pan-European axis will have to be equipped with ERTMS in the coming years. The Memorandum also recognises that ERTMS is a global standard, and underlines the importance of the common specifications in this respect.

More than 62,000km of railway tracks and 7,500 vehicles are already running or contracted to be equipped with ERTMS in 38 countries around the world. In Europe, the past months have been marked by the signature of major contracts in countries like Denmark, Switzerland, or Belgium, where ERTMS is foreseen to be installed on the entire railway Network.  Whilst ERTMS is already running in a large number of European countries, coordination of investments, both from a timing and technical point of view, is essential to ensure interoperability and create a level playing field with road transport.

"This Memorandum marks the strong commitment of the rail sector, suppliers and railway undertakings alike, to ensure the successful roll-out of ERTMS on European railway tracks",  UNIFE Director-General Philippe  Citroën  added.  "In many respects, ERTMS is a test case for interoperability in Europe, and a challenge for the sector as a whole. This new text clearly paves the way for a smooth and uniform implementation of the system in all EU countries".