Track and signalling

06.01.17

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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Comments

Lutz   06/01/2017 at 20:40

Is ERTMS the right solution for the UK going forward? Is it time to look at the newer alternatives being developed and offered elsewhere, rather than this baroque, all-comers colossus?

Tothehills   09/01/2017 at 09:56

Lutz, A good idea; lets ensure we have no export market! Bearing in mind the ERTMS has been adopted by EU, Saudi, Australia, India, and a Derivative in PRC. The cost is not in the development of the system, per se, but proving it is safe. Now that we are to commence pulling out of the EU we will now have the proving cost for our own network and for the EU (and rest of the world) unless we separately adopt the EU CSM. We could stay with our current signalling methods but that would make HS2 a bit of a joke or we could continue to use TVM 430 on it (Thales would love that). A separate UK based radio based system is too expensive to justify the cost.

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