Czech Railways (ČD) will equip up to 663 rail vehicles with the mobile part of the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2. Thanks to communication between trackside equipment and a controller in the train cab, this will further enhance safety on Czech railway lines. The new control system makes it possible to stop trains in a timely manner ahead of a stop signal even if the train driver is incapacitated, and to reduce a train’s speed before taking a diverging track or before a speed reduction on the line, for example before a tight curve requiring a significantly lower speed than that in force on the previous track section.
“The safety of ČD trains is a priority for us. We have already equipped 1,191 vehicles with the GSM-R European communication system and 1,535 vehicles with the TRS national radio communication system. This enables traffic controllers and dispatchers to stop a train during an extraordinary event, even remotely by means of a general stop, and thus contributes significantly to the high level of safety on the Czech railway network,” says ČD Chairman Pavel Krtek, who goes on to explain the benefits of the new control system: “The most modern interoperable ETCS control system further enhances the safety of our trains. For example, the system is able to stop a train in time even before a stop signal, i.e. before a ‘red light’, beyond which there may be another train. At a speed of 160 km/h, the brakes must be deployed hundreds of metres in advance. The system also eliminates human error in the case of reduced speed when taking a diverging track, for example when arriving at stations or on the line before a significant speed reduction when entering a tight curve,” added Pavel Krtek.
ČD plans to install the mobile part of the ETCS control system on 663 vehicles of 33 different types. The list encompasses the fastest locomotives and electric multiple units of classes 151, 371, 380, 660/661 (InterPanter) and 680 (Pendolino), CityElefant and RegioPanter electric multiple units, the control cars of non-traction railjet units, as well as other locomotives, multiple units and control cars.
The contract is worth an estimated CZK 6.6 billion, up to 85% of which is eligible for co-financing from European CEF funds, which support projects interconnecting European transport and communication networks. Equipping Czech trains with the mobile part of ETCS is also in accordance with the national implementation plan for introducing the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
As part of ETCS pilot testing in the Czech Republic (on the Poříčany – Kolín line section), this system was previously installed in three other vehicles (151.008, 362.166 and 471.042).
Vehicles will be able to use ETCS on the “spine” of the Czech rail network. The Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) is to introduce the system gradually on at least 2,000 kilometres of track. At present, for example, it is being installed on Corridor 1 between Kolín and Břeclav.