European Commission postpones ‘unrealistic’ ERTMS target dates
Targets for implementing the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) will be postponed until 2023, the European Commission has announced.
The Commission set a new deadline of installing ERTMS on around 50% of the routes covered by nine core network corridors by 2023. This will then allow it to set out a timetable for the rest of the corridors, with a final deadline in 2030.
One of the corridors, the North Sea-Mediterranean Corridor, is an intermodal corridor which begins in Ireland and crosses the north of the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France. It is intended to improve connections between the British Isles and continental Europe.
Yesterday, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) called on the rail industry to accelerate the implementation of ERTMS in Britain.
The initial deadline for 50% coverage of the nine corridors was 2020, but the Commission said this had become ‘unrealistic’.
Member states lacked the funding and qualified experts to deliver the programme, and initial implementation had suffered from technical problems.
The Commission also reported that member states did not trust the safety case for ERTMS, and national governments showed “initial resistance to change”.
All EU member states have agreed to implement ERTMS as their rail control, command, signalling and communication system, replacing the current use of 25 different national systems.
Karel Vinck, the European ERTMS co-ordinator, said: “All member states have accepted ERTMS as the signalling system in Europe. It is ready to be implemented from a technical point of view and through implementing the recently adopted deployment plan we can ensure the timely deployment of ERTMS.”
The UK’s participation in the project is not currently affected by the vote to leave the European Union.
Violeta Bulc, the commissioner for transport, said: “The deployment plan adopted today provides for a phased implementation along the European rail network, bringing us closer to a fully interoperable single European rail area, where trains can more easily travel across borders.”
(Image c. Karl-Josef Hildenbrand from DPA/PA Images)
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