EUROPE: A new timetable for the roll-out of the European Rail Traffic Management System has been put in place by the European Commission, with the adoption on January 5 of an implementing regulation.

The revised ERTMS European Deployment Plan has been drawn up over the past two years by ERTMS Co-ordinator Karel Vinck, in consultation with EU member states, after it became apparent that the timescales set out in the previous plan adopted in 2009 were not achievable. The Commission had recognised that the original deadlines for equipping the six designated ERTMS Corridors had become ‘unrealistic’, citing a shortage of financing, the limited number of qualified experts and technical problems.

A draft of the revised deployment plan was presented to industry stakeholders following the TEN-T Days conference in Rotterdam in June 2016. As well as amending the implementation timetable, the revisions include changes to the geographical scope in the light of experience over the past seven years. The deadlines have also been aligned with the requirements of Regulation 1315/2013 on the development of the TEN-T core network.

Under the new plan, around 50% of the Core Network Corridors are expected to be equipped by 2023, with the remainder to follow in 2024-30. However, the regulation provides for a further update of the plan in 2023 in order to set out precise implementation dates for the second phase. The Commission hopes that this will provide a greater degree of certainty over ERTMS migration, facilitating investment and resource planning by both infrastructure managers and train operators.

According to Vinck, ‘all member states have accepted ERTMS as the signalling system in Europe. It is ready to be implemented from a technical point of view and through implementing the recently-adopted plan we can ensure timely deployment.’