The ‘European Rail Traffic Management System’ (ERTMS) is the European standard for automatic train protection. ERTMS consists in a safety system that enforces compliance by the train with speed limitations and the signalling status. This system is installed both on the rail track (trackside subsystem) and on the rolling stock (on-board subsystem).
According to the relevant EU legislation, such as the ‘Guidelines on the Trans-European Network Transport’ (TEN-T), the deployment of ERTMS is mandatory on railway infrastructure projects for new or upgraded rail subsystems receiving financial support from the EU. Furthermore, following the entry into force of the 4th Railway Package in 2016, any ERTMS project has to be approved by the EU Agency for Railways (ERA) to ensure interoperability with EU specifications (‘ERTMS Trackside Approval’). ERTMS is therefore one of the key enablers to create the ‘Single European Railway Area’ in which trains can run seamlessly.
Infrastructure Managers (IMs) are the key drivers of the deployment of ERTMS on national level. Traditionally, national rail safety and signalling systems have been developed by manufacturers considering the specificities of each single national system. The ‘ERTMS Trackside Approval’ process will therefore enable interoperability, reduce purchasing and maintenance costs, while ERTMS shall improve the capacity of the infrastructure via increased train speeds as well as improved safety of the network.
The activities are regulated by Regulation (EU) 2016/919 on the Technical Specification for Interoperability relating to the Control-Command and Signalling (CCS TSI). CCS TSI applies to both on-board subsystems of vehicles and control-command and signalling trackside subsystems of the rail networks.
EIM in action
- EIM contributes to the European Commission’s ‘ERTMS Stakeholder Platform’, together with the ERA, the railway undertakings and the suppliers;
- EIM’s ERTMS Working Group (ERTMS WG) reviews the evolution of ERTMS in Europe. The ERTMS WG cooperates with other EIM WGs (e.g. Train Detection Compatibility (TDC WG) and Telecommunications Working group (TEL WG)) to ensure a single, coherent EIM position in this domain.
- EIM organised the members’ input to the draft update of the TSI CCS which were successfully discussed with ERA and the European Commission;
- EIM contributed to the work of ERA’s ‘Validation & Testing’ WG to clarify the role of the IMs in the ERTMS System Compatibility Checks;
- EIM participated via the ERA ‘Control Group’ in the ERTMS Change Control Management (CCM) process to keep the ERTMS specifications stable via a controlled evolution of the so-called ‘game changers’.
- EIM will launch initiatives to influence the discussions regarding the ‘Future of CCS’. The aim is to drive down the costs for CCS while increasing the performance of the rail infrastructure;
- EIM members will share experiences regarding the implementation of the technical pillar of the 4th Railway Package and the lessons learnt from ERTMS implementation on national level;
- EIM speakers will continue to contribute to the ERA ERTMS CCM process and the ERTMS Stakeholders Platform working groups such as the new ERTMS Subgroup on the game changers.
Train Detection Compatibility (TDC) defines the specifications of all electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC) issues related to interface parameters. This applies in particular to all compatibility issues related to train detection systems. These range, among others, from electromagnetic effects caused by traction and track circuits, sanding problems for track circuits, eddy current brakes, to more general frequency management issues of rolling stock. Train detection compatibility is defined in the Regulation (EU) 2016/919 on the Technical Specification for Interoperability relating to the Control-Command and Signalling (CCS TSI). IMs are actively involved in this matter as they manage the EMC and the ‘immunity’ of the signalling and telecommunications systems of their infrastructure with the emissions/frequencies of the rolling stock.
EIM in action
- EIM’s Train Detection Compatibility Working Group (TDC WG) works in cooperation with CER (railway undertakings), notably on EMC compliance of track circuits, frequency management and migration;
- EIM commented TDC related aspects in the CCS TSI and contributed to the corrections in the table for axle counter compatibility, the development of conformity assessment (wheel detectors) and the requirements on axle distances for high speed;
- EIM advocates to improve compatibility in the CCS TSI by extending its scope to non-standard gauge widths.
- EIM members will continue to attend and influence the joint rail sector Subgroup and TDC Working Party;
- EIM members will work on the closure of further open points in the TSI CCS;
- EIM contributes to the ERA workstream on frequency management for track circuits;
- EIM and CER set up a dedicated Working Group on sanding issues;
- ERA finished the application guide and included, among others, how to use frequency management for track circuits between IMs and manufacturers of track circuits. Some parameters will be sent to CENELEC.
- EIM members will make the link between CENELEC requirements and the requirements in the TSI CCS;
- EIM members will investigate the compatibility between axle counters and magnetic brakes.
Telecommunications are a highly strategic topic for Rail Infrastructure Managers (IMs) as they enable safe and secure communication of railway operations. This applies to the current railway mobile telecom technology, GSM-R and its successor technology. GSM-R will be phased out by 2030, and getting a proper successor is essential for the railway industry and IMs. The ‘future railway mobile communication system’ (FRMCS) is currently being defined and its roll out is expected to start from 2023 onwards. Like ERTMS, the Regulation (EU) 2016/919 on the Technical Specification for Interoperability relating to the Control-Command and Signalling (CCS TSI) applies to telecommunications.
EIM in action
- EIM’s Telecom Working Group (TEL WG) supports the life cycle maintenance of GSM-R and its current use for ERTMS (e.g. ETCS over GPRS and KPI management);
- EIM’s TEL WG supports the strategy for the Future Railway Mobile Telecom system (FRMCS) in cooperation with the ERTMS community;
- EIM advocates a high-performing, robust and cost-efficient FRMCS, as well as a clear migration plan between the two telecom systems.
- EIM TEL WG focused mostly on the GSM-R successor technology (FRMCS) and more specifically its architecture spectrum and migration. The group reached an agreement with other sector representatives and presented this position to the ERA. A decision is expected by November 2020;
- The WG also addressed cybersecurity issues related to telecommunication modules;
- EIM’s TEL WG (together with CER) issued a draft ‘Strategic Deployment Agenda on Digital Rail Operations and Gigabit train’ in the context of the EU funding instrument ‘CEF2’.
- ERA will make an intermediate recommendation on FRMCS to the European Commission (functionalities, architecture, technology used, spectrum needs and migration strategy). EIM TEL WG will analyse this report;
- EIM will promote its position on spectrum allocation in view of a decision on EU level by November 2019;
- EIM’s TEL WG will develop further its position and arguments on the Future Railway Mobile Telecom system;
- The EIM TEL WG and CER will publish the final ‘Strategic Deployment Agenda on Digital Rail Operations and Gigabit train’ and will identify corresponding actions and a suitable follow up.