‘Without ERTMS, rail cannot further digitise’

Without ERTMS, the European rail sector cannot make further steps in digitalisation. This was said by ERTMS coordinator Matthias Ruete at RailTech Europe last week. “ERTMS is the backbone of the digitisation of the railway. “If we use it in the right way, we can take steps with digital interlocking, Digital Coupling and satellite connections.”

Wim Knopperts, ERTMS director of the Dutch program agrees with Ruete. “We have to speed up. I think this is also possible in the Netherlands. We have started a tender for this. ”

According to him, it is also necessary to speed up the roll-out, because sustainability objectives must be achieved that have been agreed in the European Green Deal. “We have to make the ‘shift to rail’. The role of the railways in making transport more sustainable is very important. ”

Not overnight

Simon Fletcher, Director Europe at the international rail organisation UIC, points out that one of the advantages of ERTMS is that there will soon be “a single system” that will “provide multiple efficiency”. “This European system will enhance interoperability and help trains run seamlessly between Member States.”

Despite the fact that ERTMS is currently being rolled out in various European countries, many Member States are still using their old systems at the same time. Fletcher says that the installation of ERTMS “cannot be arranged overnight”. “You can’t disconnect and connect it like a Lego set. You also have a national system that sometimes has not yet reached the end of its life. So you have to do it step by step. ”

Innovation partnership

Rail operator ProRail announced during the European digital rail event that it would start an “innovation partnership” with twelve companies to accelerate the implementation of ERTMS.
In July 2020, ProRail started the ASAP ERTMS tender.

The selected companies will pitch their ideas to the assessors of ProRail in July. Once the business case has been accepted, a test phase and a commercial phase follow. In this, ProRail examines which innovations are eligible for actual deployment.

RailTech Europe will take place on three different stages from 30 to 1 April. The rail event can be attended via the network platform of RailTech Europe. You can register for free with the following code: RailTechEurope2021.

Author: Marieke van Gompel

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