Enhancing satellite coverage of secondary railways is a key focus of ongoing research under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme. It is hoped that satellite location could reduce some of the cots of adopting ERTMS.

SPAIN: Infrastructure manager ADIF and domestic partners Ineco and Cedex will start work in the second half of the year on the pan-European Railgap research project to support the roll-out of ERTMS.

The ‘RAILway Ground truth and digital mAP’ project is being undertaken as part of the European GNSS Agency’s portfolio within the EU’s Horizon 2020 research programme; Italian infrastructure manager RFI is co-ordinating the practical delivery.

Railgap aims to develop high precision methods of obtaining basic location data from digital maps of terrain and from surveys of railway infrastructure, with a view to improving the train location functions within ERTMS.

The Railgap partners intend to use revenue trains equipped with monitoring tools to obtain large quantities of route data. This survey data could then be used to determine locations where interventions may be needed, for example to manage lineside vegetation to enhance satellite coverage.

Railgap has a particular focus on secondary and regional lines where reducing the cost base of digital signalling is a priority.

ADIF’s participation involves equipping a rail vehicle as a mobile test base, from which the performance of the surveying technology can be evaluated. This will be broadly similar to the work undertaken for the previous ERSAT-GGC research project, which concluded in late 2019 and was also led by RFI, which saw an ADIF laboratory train equipped with a Galileo receiver.

Ineco meanwhile is to develop a WP6 sensor to calculate what it terms ‘ground truth’, from which location data can be derived, while research body Cedex is tasked with integrating GNSS satellite positioning systems into ERTMS.