INTERNATIONAL trials of the European Rail Traffic Management System are to be undertaken on the Paris - Frankfurt corridor, and are due to start in 2007.

Meeting in Paris on May 14, Hartmut Mehdorn of DB AG, RFF President Jean-Pierre Dupont and Louis Gallois of SNCF signed a ’common declaration’ launching the project, which will pave the way for wider application of ETCS in both countries.

Development work will get underway immediately. RFF and SNCF will install ETCS on TGV Est between Vaires-sur-Marne and Baudrecourt, whilst DB will equip the line from Saarbrücken to Ludwigshafen, and later to Frankfurt. The three partners will also develop common rules and staff training procedures for operation using ETCS and in mixed mode with both French and German legacy signalling equipment.

To provide maximum flexibility during the pilot programme, the international high speed trains will be fitted with onboard equipment for both ETCS and the national signalling systems. Both sections of line will have conventional signalling for non-fitted trains. This will allow various combinations of mixed operation and transfers to and from ETCS working under different operating conditions to be examined.

RFF has awarded a €9m contract to CSEE Transport for supply of eurobalises, lineside equipment units and for supply and installation of radio block centres to equip TGV Est. This follows a €22·3m contract awarded to CSEE in November 2003 for supply and installation of an SEI computer-based interlocking to control the route.