Wednesday 17 February 2021

Shift2Rail’s 4SECURail completes initial work on projects aimed at tightening cybersecurity and improving signalling systems across European railways

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4SECURail, a two-year Shift2Rail initiative aimed at delivering a co-designed process and tools for information sharing and cooperation for rail cybersecurity at European level and supporting better interoperability of signalling systems for railway security, safety and efficiency, has announced that it has achieved its mid-term objectives: the design of a computer security incident response team (CSIRT) for joint EU/rail cybersecurity, and a formal methods demonstrator for improved railway signalling systems.

Launched in Barcelona in January 2020, the 4SECURail project is being implemented by a multinational consortium of seven specialist European partners from Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and France, who are participating in the EU’s Shift2Rail programme funded by the Horizon 2020 research funding programme. The members making up the consortium are Ardanuy Ingeniería S.A., Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, FIT Consulting s.r.l., Hit Rail B.V., SIRTI S.p.A., TREE Technology S.A., and UIC.

At UIC, the project is managed by the UIC Rail System Department and UIC contributes to work packages 3 (Support to implementation of CSIRT to the railway sector) and 4 (Outreach and networking).

Further involvement of a wide range of organisations and companies was achieved by establishing an advisory board (AB) at the beginning of the project. This board includes experts from a number of companies and organisations, including Infrabel, Danmarks Tekniske Universitetet, ProB, Prover and University of Twente for the Formal Methods workstream, and DG Move Railsec initiative, UNIFE, and the CSIRT’s expert companies, Expleo from France and Cervello from Israel, for the CSIRT workstream.

The advisory board, along with other important stakeholders in the European railway environment, played an important role in a number of technical workshops that took place in June 2020. Initially intended to take place in Brussels, the meetings were held as online workshops due to the prevailing Covid-19 conditions.

The project team working on the development of a formal methods demonstrator for improving the railway signalling system has already released the first version of the demonstrator and has defined the use case in which the demonstrator will be tested: the handover of a train between two radio block centres. The team is now working on the final release of the demonstrator and conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the utilisation of formal methods in the railway signalling industry.

The members of the consortium working on the design of a European railway CSIRT collaborative platform have finished the design of the model and are now building the collaborative platform prototype. This platform will be useful in coordinating the cybersecurity response actions of individual railway security teams.

Albert Ferrer-Bonsoms of Ardanuy and 4SECURail’s Project Manager, said “We are very proud that we have been able to keep this project on track during the difficulties posed by Covid-19 restrictions and especially the loss of Frank Wilson, a key member of the CSIRT workstream on behalf of Hit Rail, who passed away on 5 April 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak. He will be forever in our thoughts. It is testament to the strong sense of collaboration and cooperation of all partners towards a joint target which will be beneficial to the rail industry and its security and safety”.

All public project deliverables which have already been completed can be downloaded on the project website:

Shift2Rail is a European rail initiative that seeks to encourage focused research and innovation (R&I) aimed at integrating new and advanced technologies through its Horizon 2020 funding and aimed at completing the Single European Railway Area (SERA). The 4SECURail project, which started in December 2019 and was officially launched in January 2020, will contribute to ensuring that interoperability and safety for signalling systems function properly, as well as providing measures to deploy collaborative cybersecurity support across Europe.

This project has received funding from the Shift2Rail JU under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant agreement No 881775.

For press enquiries in relation to 4SECURail, please contact

For further information, please contact Christine Hassoun:

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