Portuguese Railway, image: Infraestruturas de Portugal

Portuguese consortium to develop STM system for rail interoperability

source: Infraestruturas de Portugal

The consortium formed by Nomad Tech and INOV has had funding approved for a technological Research & Development  project for STM (Specific Transmission Module), under the Portugal 2020 Programme. The investment consists of 1.1 million euros up to the end of 2022.

The made-in-Portugal technological solution will make it possible to migrate from the current ATP Automatic Train Protection – CONVEL system to the new ERTMS – European Railway Traffic Management System. When installed in rolling stock with the ERTMS, the STM module will allow trains to travel on Portugese railways with the current ATP system (CONVEL).

Rail interoperability

The aim of the project is to study and develop a solution for interoperability between existing systems and generations, for progressive integration with the ERTMS. Thanks to the funding approved by the Portugal 2020 Programme, it will be possible to continue and complete the work already under way at Nomad Tech and INOV.

“The Specific Transmission Module (STM) system that we are developing will be a fundamental step towards solving the problem of obsolescence of current traffic management mechanisms and will contribute to rail interoperability”, said the project managers. “The solution will be available on the market by the end of 2022. The different Portuguese and European railway operators will be the ones that benefit most.”

The current system, where trains equipped with the new ETCS running on lines still using CONVEL balises
Trains equipped with the new ETCS running on lines fitted with Eurobaliza

Safety and freedom of rail traffic

There is considerable diversity in control, command and signalling systems in Europe today. This results in significant constraints on interoperability in many international corridors. This variety of systems makes rail traffic between European countries slow and complex and therefore quite costly.

In view of the situation in the Portuguese and international systems and the increasing obsolescence of automatic speed control equipment, it is necessary to find an innovative solution for migrating to the ERTMS system. This will result in the standardisation and interoperability of railways in Europe and contribute to the free circulation of people and goods in the European Community.

The approval of this funding comes from the Incentives System for Research and Technological Development (SI I&DT), which is supported by budgets from COMPETE (Operational Program Competitiveness and Internationalization) and the ERDF component of regional operational programmes, as part of the Portugal 2020 Programme.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Former Editor RailTech.com

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