PENDING the long-term introduction of ETCS, Belgian infrastructure company Infrabel is to fit interim automatic train protection equipment across its 3500 route-km network to prevent drivers passing red signals. The programme will cost €306m.

Starting next year, the company will install the TBL1+ system at all main line signals on its network. This will apply emergency braking should a train pass a signal at danger and will monitor the speed of trains approaching red signals, applying emergency braking if a safe speed is exceeded.

At the moment 6900 signals on the Belgian network are fitted with the ’crocodile’ automatic warning system which provides an audible and visual warning to when a yellow signal is passed. If the driver fails to acknowledge this, emergency brakes are applied. However, once the alarm has been acknowledged, no further warning is given, meaning that the train’s safety then relies on the driver’s vigilance.

A further 1800 signals have been fitted with TBL1, which applies emergency braking if a train passes a red aspect.

By the end of 2009 Infrabel expects to have equipped half its signals with TBL1+, covering 80% of the traffic, All signals are due to be fitted by the end of 2012.

TBL1+ has been developed from TBL1, but uses standard Eurobalises which can be reprogrammed for ETCS at some point in future. Belgium’s two new high speed lines are being fitted with Level 2 (RG 3.06 p142). Infrabel has also committed to install ETCS across its network from 2013 at the rate of 300 km a year, starting with the corridor from Antwerpen to Montzen and the German frontier.

  • UIC has set up the ERTMS Platform as a forum to bring together senior executives responsible for the introduction of ERTMS. Charged with managing and monitoring the ERTMS migration strategy, the Platform is headed by Roland Heinisch, who until the end of March was head of DB Netz. The Vice-Chairman is Michele Mario Elia, Vice-President, Technical & Safety, of Italian infrastructure company RFI.