40 percent of Belgian track now equipped with ETCS

source: Infrabel

In the province of Antwerp, 65 kilometres of track were equipped with the European safety system ETCS within two days. With this step, 40 percent of the Belgian railway is now equipped with ETCS. Infrabel’s ambition is great, because by the end of 2025 the entire railway network in Belgium should be equipped with the safety system.

During the weekend of Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 March, railway manager Infrabel took an important step towards a safer railway network in Belgium. With the recent extension of 65 kilometres of track, 40 per cent of the Belgian track is now equipped with the digital safety system. This represents a total of 2,536 kilometres of track.

In May last year, Infrabel had installed ETCS on 30 percent of the main Belgian railway network.

The installation progress of ETCS in Belgium, as of 7 March 2022

ETCS was installed in two locations in the province of Antwerp: on the line between Kappelen and Essen and in the port of Antwerp. The latter was also necessary, because in February 2020, there was another train accident in the port of Antwerp. The material damage at the time was huge and train traffic on the important freight line was halted for days.

‘Similar accident as good as impossible’

With the equipment of the ERTMS safety system along 65 kilometres in the province of Antwerp, “a similar accident at that location has been virtually ruled out”, says Infrabel spokesman Thomas Baeken. “And this is thanks to the European safety system ETCS (part of ERTMS) that infrastructure manager Infrabel recently rolled out there.”

Freight train derailment in the port of Antwerp

Baeken continues: “That same system, which controls the speed of trains, was also put into service on the track between Kapellen and the Dutch border. A project across the borders with financial support from the federal government and Europe.”

Funding

For the installation of the European safety system on the railway line between Kapellen and Essen, the Connecting Europe Facility provided co-financing of up to 0.66 million euros. The rest of the funding was provided by the Belgian government.

This article first appeared on Dutch sister publication SpoorPro.nl

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Author: Kenneth Steffers

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