Thales concludes deal with ProRail for ERMTS CSS in the Netherlands

source: NS

Thales on Monday formally signed the agreement announced in March with Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail for the rollout of the ERTMS Central Safety System (CSS). The contract is valued at a maximum of 420 million euros and has a duration of 37 years.

Playing a central role in complying with ERTMS, the CSS will replace the ageing ATB train protection system currently still in use on parts of the Dutch infrastructure. For this reason, ProRail cfo Mirjam van Velthuizen-Lormans labelled the tender “one of the most comprehensive in the history of the Dutch railways.”

“We are incredibly happy with Thales as partner. Together, we will make our train protection system future proof. ERTMS is the key to more capacity, higher speeds and increased reliability”, she said.

“We are very happy and proud to become ProRail’s long term trusted partner by supporting them in the execution of their clear vision to build an efficient and more sustainable railway network”, Dr. Yves Joannic, managing director of Thales Main Line Signalling, said in comments on the deal.

From operational technology to information technology

Dutch sister publication SpoorPro recently sat down with ProRail ERTMS programme manager Michiel Vijverberg, who ensured that the programme was conceived and developed in-house. This in an effort to make as many departments true stakeholders in the process.

According to Vijverberg, the rollout of ERTMS in the Netherlands as such is perhaps not the biggest change. The major change is the one in mindset and processes. “ProRail needs to shift from operational technology to information technology, from a system that was regularly revised and updated to a system that will likely evolve every year”. This will necessitate a lot of cooperation, he added.

The deal with Thales is thus viewed as more of a partnership, Vijverberg says. “Since we do not have a crystal ball, we cannot set everything in stone. For this reason, the contract is more about agreeing on processes than about keeping with contract terms”.

A version of this story first appeared on SpoorPro, the Dutch sister publication of

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Author: Kenneth Steffers

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