EUROPE: Swiss Federal Railways has become the 18th member of the openETCS Foundation, which provides a platform to exchange experience and jointly initiate train control and automation projects using open source software and open innovation concepts.

Other members include railway operators such as DB, NS and SNCF, plus the UK’s Rail Delivery Group, as well as various suppliers and industry experts.

The Foundation’s main objective is to encourage the application of open source licensing to safety-critical software and components such as ETCS onboard equipment. It believes this would enable the sharing of development costs between the partners, and avoid vendor lock-in by encouraging suppliers to open up a service market for software updates and upgrades.

The first commercial application of openETCS licensing has already been implemented on DB’s ETCS-equipped ICE trainsets working the Berlin – München high speed corridor.

According to the Foundation, the openETCS approach would enable cost-efficient and reliable implementation of ETCS using formal specifications and the verification of system requirements to automate code generation and validation, as well as testing. A research and development project in this area has recently been completed thanks to EU funding from the ITEA2 programme (Information Technology for European Advancement).

SBB is already working with other railways and infrastructure managers through the smartrail 4.0 and RCA initiatives to develop a Reference CCS Architecture for the next generation of train control and traffic management systems from the lineside perspective. It envisages that closer co-operation with the openETCS community would help in the development and validation of a matching open onboard CCS reference architecture (openCCS).

Read more about smartrail 4.0 and RCA in the March 2019 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine.