At the kind invitation of RFI, the ERTMS Platform Steering and Plenary boards met in Rome on 24 and 25 September. The meetings were chaired by Mr M. Elia – RFI CEO – and vice-chairman of Mr. H. Hess – SBB Consulting – special invitee was Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, Director General of UIC - at the presence of IMs, RUs and representative bodies, as usual.
The meetings were held in “Istituto Sperimentale” in Portonaccio. The “Experimental Institute” was founded in 1905 and operated for a century in a historical building in Trastevere avenue. Nowadays, it is part of Technical Direction of RFI and works in the new headquarters in Portonaccio street, from where manages tests, measurements and experimentations, through the development and coordination of all RFI laboratories. Its motto is “Innovators by tradition“ - Mr Alvaro Fumi is the general manager.
The steering meeting focused essentially on the Platform organisation. General agreement was reached on the Platform migration to a more comprehensive body dealing with the whole Control Command, Signalling & Telecommunication area. In dept discussions were held on the subjects to be dealt with in order to avoid duplications and, on the contrary, to avoid missing important topics.
At the end of the meeting, RFI invited members to a test trip on the Rome-Naples line, ERTMS/ETCS pure lev.2, with no fall back lateral signals on the laboratory train ETR Y1. The diagnostic train ETR Y1 can run at 300 km/h while checking the complete set of the railway infrastructure parameters, comprehensive of ETCS and GSM-R. It is equipped to perform functional tests of the interoperable ETCS level 2 system. Last February the train reached the speed of 362 km/h, which represented the maximum speed on Italian lines, but also the world record in a tunnel. The Rome-Naples line was first opened in December 2005. On 12th December 2009, the high speed/high capacity system from Turin to Salerno will be completed with the opening of the new sections from Turin to Milan and from Naples to Salerno – entirely equipped with ERTMS/ETCS level 2. Journey times will be highly reduced, creating not only new possibilities for business and travel, but also introducing a new social lifestyle, as already experienced in other countries.
The Platform Plenary meeting was held on 25 September with new participant Members: PKP PLK S.A. and East Japan Railways as observers – more than 40 UIC Members, between Infrastructure Managers and Railway Undertakings together with ERA and sector organizations: CER, EIM, ERTMS Users Group regularly attend the Platform Plenary meetings. Mr Jean-Pierre Loubinoux, the new DGS of the UIC since April 2009 thanked RFI and Mr Elia for hosting the ERTMS Platform in Rome. He then presented his 4 main objectives to be achieved in order to meet the members’ needs and enlarge the scope of the UIC as decided during the last general assembly:
* Efficiency: improve our work in all fields
* Integration -> wheel/rail interface and for instance the new Rail System department
* Global: think global at all levels and for all issues
* Savings: same problem for all railway associations. UIC European fees will decrease by 10% this year and next year as well. A complete overview of the Platform activities was given to the participants. New trends in Signalling & Telecoms were highlighted with the Long-Term Vision and New Mobile Radio Technologies and the first step towards ETCS level 3: the “ERTMS Regional” project. Results of the ERTMS Implementation benchmark study were given, via the final report 2009, distributed to those present. This is the first time that we have determined ERTMS implementation costs on the basis of actual cost figures provided by the rail community. However, the results presented are to be seen as a first step on a long journey towards a detailed life cycle costing of ERTMS. The project management team hopes that the study will provide the railway community with the necessary support to reinforce their knowledge about costs within their own organisations and those of their peers.
The ERTMS Platform is a body exclusively composed of railway members, Infrastructure Managers and Railway Undertakings. It is currently a forum for strategic debates and common goals where railway members mutually inform each other outside the legal frame. With more lines in ERTMS commercial operation, there are emerging needs to manage the issues arising from the day to day operation. Railways have to manage and respond immediately to issues that occur in service, and they need to work together sharing the problems and solutions found. A complete plan for 2010 meetings has been circulated and agreed.