BELGIUM: Trains began running under Belgium's first installation of ETCS Level 1 on March 6, following an official inauguration by federal Minister of Public Enterprises Paul Magnette, SNCB Chief Executive Marc Descheemacker and Infrabel CEO Luc Lallemand on March 2.
While ETCS is in service on the high speed lines from Liège to the German border and from Antwerpen to the Dutch border, the 25·5 km four-track route between Schaerbeek and Leuven is the first implementation on a conventional line in Belgium.
Installation of the Siemens Trainguard 100 system encompassed 140 signals and 554 balises. The project cost €11·2m, or €80 000 per signal, but this is expected to fall to €60 000 for future large-scale installations.
An Infrabel/SNCB masterplan envisages that the entire network would be equipped with ETCS Level 1 by the end of 2022, with the long-term aspiration of moving towards Level 2 and eliminating lineside signals. From 2025 all trains on the Belgian network would be required to be equipped with ETCS.