BYLINE: Nina Barrs

Commercial DirectorERTMS Users Group

THIS AUTUMN sees Europe’s railways start live tests with ETCS. Developed primarily for the Trans-European Network high speed line projects, ETCS is the child of a core group of European railways and infrastructure companies: Deutsche Bahn, Réseau Ferré de France, Ferrovie dello Stato, Railtrack, Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles and Nederlandse Spoorwegen Railinfrabeheer. The ERTMS Users Group was formed in 1995 and has since developed the specifications and documentation necessary to establish test sites and pilot routes.

The first tests were conducted in 1998 by the Morane consortium on GSM-R, which will provide the communications links for the train control system. The tests were very successful and concluded that operating speed had no significant effect on the performance of GSM-R.

The next tests will take place in Spain, where the EMSET consortium will aim to prove the functionality and interoperability of the prototype systems produced by various signalling companies: Siemens, Alstom, Alcatel, Ansaldo, Dimetronic, CSEE Transport and Adtranz. EMSET has a test train ready for trials at La Sagra on the Madrid - Sevilla AVE line.

Work on the pilot lines is progressing well. FS has already started trackside installation on the Firenze Campo di Marte - Arezzo line, and the hardware for the on-board system is nearing completion. FS starts a programme of national testing in January 2000, and this should be complete within six months. DB is also well advanced and has started procurement for the pilot site on the Jüterbog - Halle/Leipzig line. Again, national testing will start in 2000.

RFF is bringing up the rear, but hopes that its pilot sites on TGV Interconnexion route in Ile de France and the 8 km Tournan - Marles-en-Brie section of the Gretz - Coulommiers line will be ready for trials towards the end of 2000.

Renfe, NS and Railtrack joined the ERTMS Users Group later and are planning to have their pilot lines operational in 2001-02. In addition to the activity of the Users Group, there is a trial site on the Wien - Budapest line, which will be operational from October 1999 at Level 1.

Several contracts have already been issued for implementing ETCS on commercial lines. SBB should have a fully commissioned Level 2 system in September 2000. FS is equipping the Roma - Napoli line for 2001. DB intends to have ETCS on its K