With implementation of GSM-R now well underway on Europe’s railways, and worldwide interest beyond its frontiers, the ERTMS/GSM-R project of the UIC has the task of maintaining the GSM-R specifications, developed under the EIRENE project, managing the UIC roll-out plan for the system and handling issues and problems that arise as the work is progressing.
Through its working groups, the ERTMS/GSM-R project brings together existing and future implementers of GSM-R, assisting the former in realising their objectives and keeping the latter - and the railway industry in general - informed of developments. Close cooperation is maintained with ETSI - through ETSI Technical Committee Rail Telecommunications- and with the GSM-R Industry.
This section provides information on the system and its implementation, including the latest versions of the EIRENE specifications and the full range of specifications.
During the course of their work, the UIC radio frequency group concluded that efforts would have to be undertaken to negotiate, with the European Frequency Committee (CEPT), for the allocation to the railways of a specific frequency band adjacent to the E-GSM band. This frequency band was intended to cover the current railway needs as well as the future railway needs. This request was supported by a pre-study on the usability of either GSM or TETRA systems for the future railway mobile communications. Some studies were undertaken to assess the possible frequency needs (Studies to define a traffic model for three representative areas, London, Paris and Munich, were carried out). In parallel, the advantages and disadvantages of the two potential systems ( GSM or TETRA) were discussed.
Finally a decision was taken to adopt GSM, which was, at that time, the only system in commercial operation with products available. This was a very important consideration as one of the main objectives was, to use a system already proven with off-the-shelf products available, with the minimum of modifications.
However, even at that time it was clear, that GSM could not fulfil all the requirements necessary for an efficient railway service. Therefore it was necessary to identify and add to the standard GSM the Advanced Speech Call Items (ASCI) features.
The request for frequencies resulted in a recommendation from CEPT, to add 4 MHz to the overall GSM-band and to allocate it for railway use only.
This recommendation was later enhanced into a decision, which required the national frequency authorities to free this frequency band, which was already used (mainly by military services), by 2005 at the latest.
Following the decision to adopt GSM, the UIC launched a project in 1992, together with the EC and the railways, called EIRENE (European Integrated Radio Enhanced NEtwork). The aim of this project was, to specify the requirements for mobile networks which would both fulfil the needs of railways and ensure interoperability across borders. That involved the description of mandatory requirements for operational communication services, in and between networks of neighbouring railways, with the goal to allow, in the future, uninterrupted train-services, when crossing borders.
A project Team was established within this project.
The group had the task to prepare a set of Requirements, which would mainly describe the mandatory features necessary for interoperability . In addition, a description of some optional features were envisaged to also take account of national requirements.
This document also set out to define the requirements related to railway operation and the specification of the additional Group and Broadcast Calls features. A first draft of these EIRENE specifications was finalised by 1995.
As these features had to be incorporated within the GSM standards, it was necessary to work together with specialised ETSI working groups.
To develop the detailed specifications and to validate that these EIRENE Functional Specifications could be transferred into technical implementations, following an European Call for projects launched in 1995, a consortium of Railways, GSM suppliers and Laboratories teamed up for this answer and successfully get the allocation of this European Project in 1996.
This project named MORANE (MObile radio for RAilway Networks in Europe) was set up, supported by a Steering Group of railways in France, Italy and Germany and set up in Paris. Three pilot-lines were planned and realised :
- Florence - Arezzo
- Stuttgart - Mannheim
- Paris (North high Speed line and East bypassing High Speed lines)
Under this MORANE project, prototypes were developed by manufacturers, and three networks were set up and the relevant fixed and mobile terminal equipment provided. The three systems were aimed at testing different aspects of operation, respectively Railway station environment, complex radio coverage topology with tunnels and bends, high speed lines able to handle 300km/h) . It was possible to prove, during the lifetime of this project, that all the mandatory functions could be successfully implemented and tested.
The two Projects EIRENE and MORANE were finally concluded at the end of 2000 with the delivery of the FRS and SRS versions 4 and 12, respectively, the delivery of the MORANE FFFIS, FIS and FFFS documents and a final report incorporating the result of the measurement campaigns from all three trial sites.
In 1997, the UIC prepared a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), committing the railways, who signed this MoU, to no longer investing in analogue radio systems, and only investing in the implementation of GSM-R. It also included the major statements, that early implementers would help the other railways starting an implementation, through the exchange of knowledge and experience.
This MoU was signed at that time by 32 railways all over Europe. As of to-day, the number of signatories has increased to 37, including railways outside of Europe.
In addition to the declaration of willingness set out in the MoU, the UIC also instigated an Agreement of Implementation (AoI), where the signing railways committed themselves to start their implementation of the national GSM-R system in 2003 at the latest. This AoI was signed by 17 railways.
To complement the work carried out in EIRENE and MORANE the UIC started a new project, called ERTMS/GSM-R.
The new ERTMS/GSM-R project combined experiences from the trial-sites and knowledge from implementing railways within three permanent working groups:
- ERIG (European Radio Implementers Group)
- FG (Functional Group)
- OG (Operators Group)
ERIG forms the assembly of railways having signed the MoU and the AoI.
The main goal of this group is to exchange information about ongoing implementations based on results already achieved and discussion about gaps in the specifications or implementation reports related to national or international functions. Information is also given on the work of the different permanent and Ad Hoc-groups and the presentation of actual Change requests together with their status. This group is mainly a dissemination platform.
Functional Group (FG)
The main task of this expert group is to maintain the FRS and to check incoming implementation reports concerning impact to functional requirements. The FG is also responsible for creating the change requests, based on Implementation Reports. The FG works with OG and the GSM-R industry Group (IG) to find the right solutions and requirements. The FG takes towards specification evolution to ensure consistent railway operation.
Operators ’Group (OG)
The main task of this expert group is to maintain the SRS, to define technical solutions for functional requirements, to liaise with ETSI, the standardization Body for GSM related to railway requirements, to create the necessary change requests based on implementation reports, to liaise with the TIG (Technical Industry Group) and to define technical improvement necessary for new SRS releases. The OG is also responsible for creating a new version of the SRS and upgrading of former MORANE documents.
When it is necessary to work on specific subjects, in a more detailed way, the OG forms Ad Hoc Groups with experts from the GSM-R suppliers and from the railways. These groups prepare the ground for a deeper analysis of specific subjects, which cannot be developed, in detail, in the permanent working groups.
In parallel to this railway oriented working groups the GSM-R suppliers have formed a separated group, called IG ( (GSM-R) Industry Group) which works on two aspects :
- a marketing part, looking for common approaches to promote GSM-R worldwide
- a technical part, which forms the interface to the railway groups FG and OG
To protect the specific railway features and to improve the development of the GSM standard, UIC is deeply involved in the standardization work with ETSI Technical Committee on Rail Telecommunications. This ETSI Technical Committee is in a position to improve the standards ensuring full interoperability of the System.
The EIRENE Functional Requirements Specification (FRS FRS Functional Requirements Specifications ) version 8.0.0 and System Requirements Specification (SRS) version 16.0.0 are released to address the complete GSM-R system requirements, containing in particular the requirements that are relevant to interoperability of the rail system within the European Community, according to the Directive 2008/57/EC.
The documents incorporate the relevant requirements introducing Internet Protocol based new Core Network architecture, making the system able to use either Packet Switching or Circuit Switching as a bearer for ETCS, allowing the usage of terminals offering improved protection against interferences and inserting the findings of a Working Group managed by the European Railway Agency, with the participation of the UIC, CER, EIM and GSM-R Industry Group. They include the ability of using additional frequencies in the 900 MHz band and other public GSM bands and introduce other reviewed functionalities for the network and the terminals.
The EIRENE Specifications requirements which are relevant for interoperability in Europe are strictly the ones marked in this version with the category (MI), and these should be verified for certification purposes and authorisation for placing into service in Europe. There is no impact for Individual Constituents or Subsystems certification done according to the applicable requirements in EIRENE previous versions.
They are referenced in the Annex A of the CCS TSI as mandatory documents according to the ERA ERTMS/GSM-R CCM process, and considered as such as the GSM-R European baseline, approved by the RISC Committee on February 2016. As a Regulation and no longer a Decision, they will become in force at their publication in the European Official Journal. Until then, the EIRENE 7.4.0/15.4.0 remain the GSM-R Specifications in force in Europe.
The EIRENE version numbering structure is as follows:
- First digit (8 for FRS and 16 for SRS) is the EIRENE Specification version, and it is aligned with the ERA Baseline for Europe (B1), defined according to the ERA CCM process
- Second digit (0) is aligned to ERA First release 0 for Baseline 1 (B1 r0), defined according to the ERA CCM process
- Third digit (0) corresponds to UIC interim version, which shall contain changes that will not refer to (MI) categories
Following this, EIRENE 8.0.0 & 16.0.0 are aligned with ERA B1 r0.
The complete set of Mandatory for Interoperability (MI) and Mandatory for the System (M) must be complied with together in order to ensure a viable working GSM-R system.
Following that, this split in two categories does not apply for non-European implementations.
Please note that, this EIRENE Functional System Requirements Specification version 8.0.0 replaces the former version 7.4.0, and the EIRENE System Requirements Specification version 16.0.0 replaces the former versions 15.4.0.
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Implementation & Procurement Guide Aims and Objectives
The EIRENE System Requirements and Functional Requirements Specifications allow
for some flexibility in the allowed procurement approaches and implementation
options for an EIRENE-compliant integrated radio communications system.
In order to ensure interoperability between national GSM-R networks, it is necessary to provide some guidance on the development of national specifications. This procurement and implementation guide is intended to provide help with the interpretation of the EIRENE Specifications in order to:
- provide a framework for interoperability;
- ensure common interpretation of requirements in the context of how EIRENE compliant systems may be implemented;
- provide guidance in areas where there is flexibility in the implementation options.
The remainder of this section outlines the aspects that are covered by the Procurement and Implementation Guide in order to meet these requirements.
The realization of a GSM-R network is complex and requires much planning. It is not
intended that every topic related to GSM-R implementation is covered here in this
version of the document. Future versions of the document will build upon the information provided here by adding new sections, error corrections or more in depth explanations in order to form a more comprehensive handbook for GSM-R implementers.
In order to provide practical assistance to the implementation of an EIRENE-compliant radio network, this guide:
- provides an overview of GSM-R and gives a single point of reference for all of the
- describes the various design options available and how these implementations can
be made to result in an interoperable EIRENE-compliant system;
- provides guidance on the use of the EIRENE System Requirements Specification
and Functional Requirements Specification and explains how this information may
be used to develop a national strategy;
- provides guidance on issues, which have an effect on implementation and
interoperability, but are not comprehensively covered in the EIRENE