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Swiss tests confirm Baseline 3 backwards compatibility

26 May 2014

SWITZERLAND: Siemens Rail Automation announced on May 22 that a joint testing programme organised with Swiss Federal Railways and BLS AG has successfully demonstrated the functionality and backwards-compatibility of its ETCS Baseline 3 onboard software, ready for the introduction of the revised Control Command & Signalling TSI later this year.

Developed by the European Railway Agency, the Baseline 3 specification for ETCS includes several enhancements to improve interoperability, as well as the new Level 1 Limited Supervision mode which is seen as an important prerequisite for the implementation of ETCS on the TEN-T core corridors.

Siemens is currently undertaking several lineside and onboard projects as part of the migration of the entire SBB network to ETCS by 2017. This programme includes the use of Limited Supervision to replace legacy automatic warning systems.

The main objectives of the test campaign on April 12 – 28 were to demonstrate ETCS Level 2 and Level 1 LS operation on the existing network, to demonstrate backwards compatibility between the Baseline 3 onboard systems and Baseline 2 lineside equipment, and to prove the stability of the Siemens Baseline 3 software.

SBB provided an Am843 diesel locomotive already equipped with a Siemens Level 2 onboard unit, which was operated over BLS tracks. The Baseline 3 software was uploaded to the OBU, and a series of tests were conducted using a catalogue of scenarios prepared by SBB and BLS.

According to Siemens, all of the test scenarios could be completed successfully, and ‘nearly all’ were approved by SBB, although some ‘required actions for minor changes were identified’. The company says it was the first time that a train had operated using Baseline 3 on ‘commercially-utilised infrastructure’, proving the backwards compatibility of Baseline 3 onboard software with Baseline 2 equipped tracks.

‘The success of this test marks a milestone on the way to supplying Baseline 3 Onboard to customers across Europe’, said Siemens, adding that it was ‘fully committed to Baseline 3’, and ‘convinced that it provides the most benefits to our customers deploying an interoperable ETCS system