TWOTRAINS are being used to test the ERTMS equipment installed on the Roma - Napoli line. One is an ETR500 trainset, the other is formed of a pair of Class E402 locomotives coupled at each end of a set of loco-hauled test cars.

During a test run in March on the loco-hauled train it was possible to observe the function of the ERTMS equipment onboard, which is not yet configured as a commercial product. An Alstom engineer said at the time that the company was to supply equipment for 27 trains, but Trenitalia was unable to confirm this.

At the start of a run the driver activates the Driver-Machine Interface, which is a touch screen in the cab. This instigates a self-checking process and establishes a connection with the line’s Radio Block Centre. The driver next enters details of Train 908 on the screen, including the overall length. Once this is confirmed, the driver requests permission to start. In this case a 32 km section of line is indicated on the screen, with the train required to operate in ’staff responsible’ mode until the first pair of Eurobalises is encountered so that the RBC knows the exact location of the train.

A ’track ahead free’ notification is received, and the screen indicates that the train is communicating with RBC 10 and RBC 11. The diagram on the screen also shows the gradients ahead, as well as the maximum permissible speed, which in this case is 150 km/h. Around 180m from the start point the first pair of balises is encountered, from which point the train can operate under full ERTMS control.

Shortly after starting, the DMI warns of a temporary speed restriction 6000m ahead, requiring speed to be cut to 90 km/h because the adjacent track is ’out of order’; in fact, this is a simulation forming part of the test. After passing the TSR speed is quickly restored to 150 km/h, and the driver demonstrates an automatic application of the brakes when the train reaches 153 km/h.

At the start of the run, several minutes are required to establish the link to the RBC and to enter and confirm the train data, begging the question as to what will happen when a train must make the transition from conventional signalling to ETRMS control while on the move.

Signalling and train control equipment on the line is being supplied by Consorzio Saturno, consisting of ABB Dacom, part of the Balfour Beatty group, Alstom Ferroviaria, AnsaldoBreda and Sirti. Siemens is supplying the GSM-R train radio.

CAPTION: LEFT: The touch-screen Driver-Machine Interface installed in the cab of an E402 locomotive for the ETCS/ERTMS trials

ABOVE: Alstom has supplied the onboard test equipment for Level 2 ETCS/ERTMS on this E402 locomotive; it also supplied the Radio Block Centres for the Roma - Napoli line

CAPTION: LEFT: Eurobalises have been supplied by Ansaldo Signal

RIGHT: GSM-R mast at Gavignano; Siemens is the GSM-R contractor