Railway yard Kijfhoek in the Netherlands

Shunting on Dutch marshalling yards remains possible without ERTMS

Railway yard Kijfhoek in the Netherlands Frans Berkelaar | Flickr via https://flickr.com/photos/28169156@N03/18929738181

The infrastructure of the ERTMS track section between the Dutch yards Kijfhoek and Roosendaal will be set up in such a way that shunting locomotives on the railway yards in Lage Zwaluwe and Roosendaal can continue to shunt without ERTMS for the time being. The advantage of this is that old shunting locomotives do not have to be converted immediately, says ERTMS programme director for the Netherlands Wim Knopperts.

The ERTMS programme in the Netherlands has opted for this because the Kijfhoek and Roosendaal track section is the first ERTMS track section to be completed in 2027. “We took this decision to relieve the time pressure for the conversion of the old shunting locomotives.”

A second reason for choosing this, according to Knopperts, is that no decision has yet been taken within the programme about the method of shunting with ERTMS level 2. “There is also no European harmonised solution yet. We see that different choices are made per country. For example, if you start shunting while pushed, the balise sensor is at the back. Then the locomotive cannot read the ERTMS balises in time. The programme is currently working on solutions to this issue.”

Entire sector working on ERTMS

The ERTMS programme director further points out that there is a breakthrough for the freight locomotives for the long haul. 145 locomotives from 8 rolling stock owners have been commissioned by ERTMS suppliers to get an upgrade from Baseline 2 to Baseline 3. “A subsidy scheme is used for this, which covers the majority of the costs.”

Also good news, according to Knopperts, is that Arriva has ordered 36 trains to be converted by Stadler. The tender for the VIRM train from NS is currently still ongoing. He points out that Siemens and Thales have entered the dialogue phase for the tender for the Central Safety System (CSS) ERTMS, for the installation of the rail security system in the rail infrastructure.

Also,18 proposals have been selected for the ASAP ERTMS tender, in which the rail operator asks the market to come up with ideas for an accelerated roll-out of the ERTMS security system. “We are proud of the progress and that the entire sector is now working on ERTMS.”

Yellow and black fleet

The programme is still looking for the right solution for the ‘yellow and black fleet’, respectively the work trains and the historic equipment. The costs of the aforementioned “ETCS-Light” solution are higher, according to the programme director, which means that the initiative must be further examined. ETCS-Light is a mobile installation that can be placed in a locomotive. It is more attractive from a cost point of view when there is an increase in scale. According to Knopperts, it is not only necessary to equip the Dutch yellow fleet with this, but also the black fleet and also railway equipment abroad.

He argues for European countries to work together in the development of ETCS-light. “It is a fairly expensive solution with a fairly large risk profile. If we develop this further ourselves, we will have a Dutch unique, of which you can ask yourself whether this is the right solution. People who work internationally do not benefit much from this. The way forward is if several countries cooperate in this.”

ERTMS director Wim Knopperts and migration manager ERTMS Chain Management Hella van Veen will give a presentation during RailTech Europe on 30 March. View the Main Stage programme on the RailTech Europe website.

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Author: Marieke van Gompel

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