Information published on 27 April 2012 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 289.

European Rail Traffic Management System: The 10th UIC ERTMS World Conference in Stockholm attended by more than 650 participants from all over the world

Sweden unveils the first ERTMS Regional application – successful technical visit on the first ERTMS Regional line between Borlänge and Malung

Over 650 delegates from 35 countries from Europe and worldwide representing governments, European and international institutions, railway operating companies, infrastructure managers, industries from the rail sector, consultants and further bodies participated in the 10th UIC ERTMS World Conference from 24 to 26 April in Stockholm.

The conference was opened by Swedish Minister of Infrastructure Catherina Elmsäter-Svärd and UIC Director-General Jean-Pierre Loubinoux. They declared that the conference has become a worldwide reference and platform for exchange on pending problems and possible solutions with regard to signalling and train control systems and railway communications in Europe, as well as on perspectives at global level.

Other key speakers included: Gunnar Malm, Director General of Trafikverket (the Swedish national transport administration), Christian Faure, Programme Manager, European Commission – DG Move, Marcel Verslype, Executive Director, European Rail Agency (ERA), Pio Guido, Head of the ERTMS Unit at the European Rail Agency (ERA), Libor Lochman, Executive Director of CER, Michel Van Liefferinge, UNISIG General Manager representing UNIFE, Michele Elia, CEO of RFI (FS) and Chairman of the UIC Control Command, Signalling & Operations Sector and Ciro De Col, Chairman, GSM-R Industry Group, Siemens Mobility.

Two days of dense presentations covered all aspects of ERTMS – and its components, ETCS and GSM-R- development, implementation and proposals for accelerating deployment in Europe.

A clear willingness has been demonstrated on a political level as well to accelerate ERTMS deployment. ERTMS shall deliver the expected benefits, and in this scope:

  • Corridors shall be equipped with ERTMS – this is the priority
  • Train operators and railway companies shall follow, to equip locomotives and trains
  • Baseline 3 – now officially delivered to the Commission by the European Railway Agency shall ensure the stability of the system, interoperability and efficient deployment
  • The recently signed MOU expresses the will of politicians, suppliers and railway organisations to strengthen cooperation in order to push for ETCS

There is no way back: ETCS is the future for Europe

And not only for Europe: ERTMS goes global. The conference demonstrated that ERTMS and its components, ETCS and GSM-R moved from a European standard to a global solution, with the prospect of becoming a standard with applications worldwide. About 5000 km of ERTMS are already in operation across four continents in China, India, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey. More than 14,000 km of ERTMS are under construction, contracted and planned. This proves its capability to satisfy requirements for applications on four continents! ETCS is the system to conquer the railway world.

The conference has also proven that flexibility of ERTMS covers the cost-effective implementation of low traffic lines: ERTMS Regional – target Level 3 – is working! The technical visit organised by Trafikverket and Bombardier on the first day has proved this. Several other European railways are convinced by this application and are currently investigating the possibility to use the specifications. ERTMS Regional will also be of interest for applications worldwide.

ERTMS developments are ongoing:

  • The use of the space technology (GNSS – GPS- EGNOS) to improve odometry and to provide added value to ETCS – trials will take place as part of the SATLOC project
  • Radio connection shall evolve from the current GSM-Rail to the rapidly developing technologies. GPRS for rail will soon become a reality
  • Formalisation of requirements is expected to bring more accuracy, non interpretation, strong verification and confidence, thus to spare time, money and simplify the testing, verification and certification of the final products for interoperability – on baseline 3

The conference gives us the confidence that identified challenges could be rapidly solved:

  • Avoiding the use of STMs on corridors, equipping the corridor infrastructure with ERTMS also on the “last mile” to enable the interoperable service from terminal to terminal
  • The solutions of efficient ERTMS application in railway nodes and big stations, where strategies shall be applied to enable smooth transition, maintenance of current ERTMS investments and attractiveness for railway companies to apply ERTMS onboard for safe, efficient and cheaper service, when increasing the capacity of the whole infrastructure
  • A number of proposals on how efficiency can be reached through close cooperation between infrastructure managers and railway companies have been discussed – they have to be translated into practical agreements. In this scope, UIC in close cooperation with stakeholders and the European Railway Agency should contribute by offering the technical support to test solutions and their efficiency

It is extremely important to share experience and best practice. This conference was a prime example. The framework for specialists has been created. This is the UIC “ERTMS information feed-back”.

The current situation marks a milestone for a fast deployment of ERTMS, improving the benefits of railways in Europe and worldwide: railways as a backbone for the mobility networks for goods and people, to use railways as a green answer to sustainable development, as one of the safest means of transportation, as a capacity solution for the economy, answering and creating its growth, railways as interoperable services on international corridors.

The conference was organised by UIC and Trafikverket (the Swedish transport administration), in close collaboration with UNIFE (Association of the European Rail Industry), the ERTMS Users Group, the GSM-R Industry Group, and with the support of European railway associations such as CER, EIM and several other partners.