Information published on 13 May 2009 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 142.

INESS Project (INtegrated European Signalling System)

  • Signalling

The INESS Steering Board met on 7 May at UIC. The meeting was chaired by Andy Doherty from Network Rail who extended a warm welcome to the SB members and the Project Manager. Among the issues discussed at the meeting were:

- general progress of the project,
- verification that the project was running according to the established time plan and budget,
- review of the quality of the work being carried out within the various work packages.

A work plan was drawn up defining the expectations and objectives for the project for the next six months. The first sets of deliverables are soon to be finalised and sent to the Commission.

INESS is currently in its eighth month following the official kick-off meeting in October last year which was attended by 80 participants including the European Commission, which is funding the three-year project.

Communications update:

- An INESS brochure is soon to be released, giving a general overview of what the project is about and how it is organised.
- Our website has recently been updated: visit us at
- The next General Assembly is due to be held on 16 December 2009

Project Background

The European Commission, the European Railway Associations together with the Railway Supply Industry have agreed to work closely together to define a feasible migration strategy for ERTMS. This unique co-operation has offered the possibility to co-ordinate the implementation of the current constituent parts of ERTMS. Thereby it is becoming more and more evident that this process could be hampered by the lack of standardisation in the signalling layer. INESS is therefore needed to support the development of a new generation of interlocking systems with optimal unified interfaces towards adjacent subsystems such as remote control, neighbour interlocking, outdoor equipment and in particular ETCS.

In spring 2005 the group of signalling suppliers within UNIFE and UIC agreed to initiate a new joint activity for the harmonisation and re-engineering of signalling and interlockings in frame of a new follow-up European research and development project. In view of this perspective, the Euro-Interlocking activity was reviewed and laid down the bases for the INESS project.

UIC and UNIFE agreed on a “Project Declaration for the joint continuation of the Euro-Interlocking Project”. At the end of 2006 the formal EC call for the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Development appeared, among others, with the topic “Delivering ERTMS-compliant Interlockings”.

The expected activities included:
 The definition of a common kernel of functionalities with agreement between railways and signalling suppliers on a common allocation of functions to subsystems and/or to adjacent systems such as traffic management systems of radio block centres.
 Interfaces to be standardised in areas which lead to significant economical benefit (to be justified by a cost/benefit analysis)
 Common procedures for the safety case facilitating cross-acceptance as well as methods and tools for data preparation.

INESS’ main objective is to significantly reduce life-cycle costs of future interlockings and associated outdoor equipment. All possibilities for cost-reduction in the various implementation phases ranging from planning and site-specific engineering, procurement, commissioning (including safety approval) to maintenance (including adaptations to changes of the operational requirements) need to be explored. Standardisation, increased competitive tendering and significant reduction of implementation time are considered to be key requirements for the future. Consequently, railways are aware of the need for well defined strategies to achieve a migration from the present configuration towards a new harmonised Interlocking system with efficient integration with the adjacent systems for Centralised Traffic Control, ERTMS, and other relevant systems.