Thursday 26 March 2009

European Railway Radio Implementation Group: efficient cooperation related to the EIRENE Change Request


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On the kind invitation of DB Netz, the ERIG meeting n°41 took place on 16 and 17 of March 2009, in Hanover, Germany.

The session started with a GSM-R shunting demonstration organized by DB Netz in the Seelze shunting yard. In front of an audience formed of about 20 ERIG group members, the DB Netz team performed a set of live demonstrations of GSM-R Shunting Applications appreciated as very useful as showing the system behavior and the way it operates. The DB team organized three “working points”: one – as the Dispatcher (with a dispatcher terminal), one - as the Train Driver (with a cab radio) and one – as being the Shunting Leader (shunting GSM-R handheld terminal). Accordingly, they tested 9 scenarios with point to point calls and 6 scenarios with group calls. There was also a demonstration of the next generation of shunting handhelds.

The ERIG (European Railway Radio Implementation Group) followed the shunting demonstration and was then held in the Intercity Hotel, in Hanover. Representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, France, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, CER, EIM and ERA attended. The main subjects on the agenda were: the Change Request Process, the GSM-R Quality of Service for ETCS & Voice and the Frequencies Management. The meeting started with the usual implementation status report session, performed by each participant member, and the UIC working groups report. EIM represented by Ms. Dominique Perrin and CER represented by Mr. Klaus Konrad introduced their GSM-R activities and their opinions during this meeting.

On regards of the GSM-R Additional Frequencies, the ERIG members were informed that approaches are advanced in obtaining frequencies in the so called PMR/PAM Band (Trunk Band - 870-876/915-921 MHz). The representatives of DB Netz announced that they had already received the right to use 3 MHz paired in this bandwidth. If the undertaken actions go well, the agreement made in February 2009 and currently under public consultation up to May 6th, 2009 will be sent as proposal to ECC in September, looking for a final decision in November this year. That means that the new rules could become official at the beginning of 2010.

The ERIG members have also been informed that the GPRS for ETCS tests are in final stage - the last test campaign to conclude the Feasibility Study within EEIG/UNISIG/ UIC will take place in April, in Italy, on the Milano-Bologna High Speed Line. The first sets of tests, performed end 2008/beginning 2009 in Belgium and in Italy, with the support or their own experts, Nokia & Siemens Networks, showed encouraging results. The next steps will be to define the GPRS for ETCS CR for the EIRENE Specifications (FRS & SRS), and submit them into the CR process with the Sector Organizations and ERA.

Another important topic related to the Frequency Management was the GSM-R Interferences. Attendants of this ERIG meeting took note of the fact that the expansion of the Mobile Public Operators using UMTS 900 becomes reality. Measurements are to be taken to prevent the blocking of the GSM-R transmission due to the UMTS900 signals. A dedicated workshop will be organized in order to gather the necessary data to intervene in the already announced FM#38 meeting.

The Change Request Process – first joint action of ERA and UIC in GSM-R
On the Change Request Process, Mr. Hans Bier from ERA and Mr. Dan Mandoc from UIC explained the actual status of the process and on the work. Mr. Martin Schroeder, from ERA explained the way the Economical Assessment is performed.

The full process - from the starting idea and up to changing it into a law under the ERA responsibility - was defined by ERA and UIC and agreed as such by the ERA Control Group. It is developed in three steps: input selection, analysis and preparation and assessment. Railways decision makers are expected to intervene in between these steps in order to express their positions, as shown in the picture here on the left.

Once the Change Request finalized, it will be up to ERIG to decide for its follow up; this step is extremely important since it expresses the Railways engagement for the feature. Then the CR will be transferred from the UIC Change Request Database towards the ERA Database and the two will be convergent. This will continue the transparent cooperation relationship between the two organizations.

One of the main focuses for 2009/2010 is to revise the EIRENE specifications with the objective of identifying the interoperability relevant parts, as well as separate them from the national driven options. On regards to the interoperability part, the purpose is to ease and clarify the certification process. As for the options part, it is needed to go on developing the works on the GSM-R system, needed for the national application as well as for the out of Europe part. Outside Europe, GSM-R is currently operational in China, being implemented in Australia, India, Saudi Arabia and taken into account as a preferred solution in a number of countries worldwide.

For more information please contact:
Dan Mandoc:,
and Oana Patraulescu:

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