On 29 and 30 November 2011 in Vienna, at the kind invitation of ÖBB, the ERIG (European Radio Implementation Group) celebrated its 50th meeting.
The decision to create the ERIG was taken after several years of work on the EIRENE and MORANE projects, with a focus on specifications and initial steps towards implementation. In the early 90s the former UIC 7B10 group started to work on a study for safe future transition from analogue to digital radio. The main idea was to group all existing radio applications into a single frequency band and, in parallel, switch from analogue to digital while seeking useful technology for railways. A study was launched and two technologies examined: TETRA and GSM. The final decision was to switch to GSM, albeit with added functionalities to make it usable in the railway environment.
The ERIG is a Railway information and decision platform for GSM-R comprising all the European signatories of the UIC Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on railway support for GSM-R, drafted in 1997 and initially signed by 32 railways. It provides a platform where participants can discuss the problems they encounter, their solutions, opinions, ideas and experience regarding the implementation and use of GSM-R. Train operators are also encouraged to participate, and CER, EIM and ERA are invited to attend.
In addition to the discussions on technologies taking place within the group, part of the shared information becomes work material for the related UIC working groups: the Functional Group, Operators Group, ETSI TC-RT, Network Management Group and ERIN (European Railways Interconnection Group). Strategic decisions at European level are discussed with a view to agreement between those who will implement them. The GSM-R Industry Group is regularly invited to ERIG meetings, where it can present its issues and discuss matters directly “with the customer”.
ERIG meeting no.50 was attended by more than 30 participants. The two previous ERIG chairs, Messrs Mike Watkins and Klaus Konrad, had been invited to attend the last part of the meeting on the second day.
The group discussed important issues on the present European GSM-R agenda.
GSM-R frequency interferences originating from public operators are already a serious cause for concern and are becoming critical. Coordination between railways and public operators now has a basis: ECC Report 162, which is not legally binding. An action plan agreed on by UIC has been set up, a database of interference points has been created, and a study is being conducted on existing legislation - binding documents and technical reports. Version 2 of the UIC technical report has been drafted and a measurement test campaign to validate ECC Report 162 is being prepared. The ERIG has endorsed the ECC-UIC MoU on cooperation in the field of railway wireless applications, which is currently in the process of being signed.
EIRENE assessment vs. the TSI: following the UIC-ERA MoU on GSM-R, ERA wishes to divide today’s EIRENE mandatory requirements into those relevant to interoperability and those mandatory to ensure technical interworking in the system (not relevant for interoperability) according to principles set out in the TSI. EIRENE versions 7v2/15v2 are expected to be ready by March 2012. ERA promises that this very demanding work will lead to greater clarity and lower costs in the certification process. In addition reports were given on UIC activities such as the preparation for ERA of cab radio test cases required for certification following a contractual request, the GSM-R network assessment test cases and modifications of the EuroRadio FFFIS as requested by ERA.
Another topic was the results of shunting demonstrations organised by the Finish Transport Agency; current issues and several potential forms of implementation had been studied and were presented. GSM-R shunting is crucial as the analogue frequencies must be made available by railways once the GSM-R network is in place, an issue which must be understood by authorities at all levels. A further demonstration is being prepared by SBB, to be completed by May 2012.
ERIG members gave their support to the UIC GSM-R project proposals for 2013-2015.
Kapsch Carrier Comm, Frequents and the GSM-R Industry Group had the opportunity to discuss matters with the group.
The next meeting is scheduled for 21-22 March 2012 in Portugal.