Banedanmark starts ERTMS testing phase between Køge and Næstved

The roll-out of signalling system ERTMS on the Danish track between the cities Køge and Næstved in Zealand is entering its final phase. Infrastructure manager Banedanmark starts this week with testing the new signalling system, and expects that the new signalling system will be taken into operation in August.

Banedanmark is in the process of replacing the signals along the Danish railway with the digital signalling system ERTMS. In Zealand, the largest and most populous island in Denmark, ERTMS has been put into use on the section between Roskilde and Køge in 2019. This summer, the trip has come to the track between Køge and Næstved. It is the second section on the eastern side of the Little Belt that will soon be able to use the new signals.

Until the new system is put into use on the entire route in August, the work will affect train operations for six weekends over the coming months. Signal faults are the most common type of fault and constitute about 50 percent of all errors, according to Banedanmark. When the signalling system is rolled out across the country, the infrastructure manager expects up to 80 percent of all the delays currently caused by signal errors will disappear.

New signalling

“Components are installed, and the new signalling system is tested on several weekends, when there is less traffic and fewer passengers”, says Thilde Restofte Pedersen, program director at Banedanmark. “That way, we do not bother the commuters who use the train on weekdays. And the closure of level crossings is planned so we are only working on a few level crossings at a time. In this way, we can ensure that our work with the roll-out of the new signals will affect traffic as little as possible”.

Until now, cable gutters and cables have been dug along the entire stretch, and new technical equipment has been installed in and by the track. Now, the last piece of work has to be started, which consists of replacing barrier systems with a new type that communicates with the new signalling system and the remote control center, and installing the last parts of the new system.

Testing the system

The first test, which will cause changes in traffic, will take place in week five of 2021. In addition, there will be five weekends in May and June with tests on the route before the new signalling system can be finally put into use by August. Banedanmark also performs tests on the section between Roskilde and Køge on the same weekends, where level crossings will also be affected.

It is expected that the entire section will be in operation with the new signalling system in August. However, the work may need to be performed under different conditions due to Covid-19. It can therefore not be ruled out that it may affect the plans for the roll-out, says Banedanmark.

Common European system

The new signalling system will eventually be rolled out on the entire Danish railway. As it is a common European standard system, Danish train traffic will in future be much better connected with the railways in the rest of Europe. The system replaces the old signalling systems, which are both worn and technologically obsolete. With the old signals, the drivers have to keep an eye on physical signals along the track, whereas the new remote-controlled system will enable the driver to receive the signals digitally on a computer screen in the cabin.

The replacement of the railway’s old signals with a modern signalling system will in the long run mean fewer delays due to signal errors, and thus more trains on time. In addition, the new signalling system will also allow more trains to run at higher speeds on certain routes.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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