Information published on 15 June 2011 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 242.

ERTMS regional pilot in Sweden, with a view to beginning commercial operation by the end of 2011

UIC strongly supports the rapid consolidation of the ERTMS regional concept

  • ERTMS
  • Signalling

In 2005 the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket – TRV) and Bombardier started adapting the infrastructure of the regional line Borlänge-Malung (135 km of single track with six simple stations) to implement the ERTMS regional concept. This was based on the work of UIC and on the UIC Functional and Operational Requirements Specifications. The first set of UIC specifications which was used by Trafikverket dates from 2003. Accordingly, the UIC concept aims to implement low cost infrastructure compatible with the running of ETCS trains. This applies for fitting low traffic infrastructure with the interlocking of circulation routes centralised in the Traffic Control Centre and with coverage of the route by the GSM-R. Switches in stations and level crossings are controlled and commanded from the TCC via Object Controllers linked to the TCC by radio (GPRS) and/or wired WAN. In principle no track-based train detection systems (track circuits or axle counters) are employed. Trains detect their location autonomously using onboard odometry and pre-programmed balises on the track. Train movements are controlled by Movement Authorities issued by the TCC. This eliminates the need for trackside signalling. Trains and locomotives equipped with the ETCS On-Board according to the interoperable SRS baseline 2.3.0d run on this ERTMS regional line. The system safety target is compliant with the high requirements of the Safety Authority in Sweden as regards the specific operational requirements set up by TRV and SJ.

In this way, the ERTMS regional infrastructure has the potential to reduce costs, as no track-based signalling or train detection is required and agents are not needed in stations. Only the shunting operations in stations are performed locally by the shunting team accompanying the freight train. The use of hand-held GRM-R terminals allows the shunting zone to be temporarily blocked for traffic and then re-opened once the shunting operations are ended. The same hand-held control system allows zones occupied by track workers to be protected. Swedish colleagues have stated that the cost saving due to the ERTMS regional infrastructure meets the target of 50% of the cost that would otherwise have been paid for a classic signalling system. The cost of the GSM-R is not included as it would have been installed in any case.

On 7 and 8 June 2011 Bombardier and TRV organised presentations of the concept, the technology implemented and the performance obtained for a group of specialists from UIC, RFF, ATOC, SBB and ADIF and industry representatives (AZD-Prague, Ansaldo-STS, GE-Transportation, Invensys-Rail, Alstom, Siemens and Thales). An ERA specialist was also present. Participants were invited on a trip onboard a test train. The event facilitated the intense exchange of viewpoints on the potential of ERTMS regional to satisfy the particular requirements of regional lines and to build on the foundations of the UIC concept infrastructure on which ETCS interoperable trains may run. The pilot project in Sweden and further implementations of ERTMS regional re-address the need for research on harmonised solutions for open issues such as train integrity with onboard solution and the use of moving block train spacing. Although the application of ETCS Level 3 is not officially specified, the avoidance of track-based train detection as applied on ERTMS regional could be considered to be a first step in the direction of future ETCS L3 implementation.

UIC strongly supports the rapid consolidation of the ERTMS regional concept when integrating the experience of the pilot in Sweden and is committed to act:

  • To revise and produce consolidated versions of the FRS, ORS and Technical Specifications of the concept. It has been observed that the ERTMS regional concept enables large flexibility in applications on low traffic lines, therefore the UIC specifications shall describe the baseline of the concept, the mandatory characteristics and constraints to be considered when addressing any intended implementation. In this context, the industry representatives were of the opinion that “too much flexibility and customisation” is not in favour of cost-effective supply and it would be opportune to optimise the “customisation”. This viewpoint should be also considered.
  • To use the experience of TRV and Bombardier to draw up a recommendation on generic testing, verification, and validation procedures specific to ERTMS regional. This recommendation should contribute to reducing the cost of testing and commissioning and speed up the process of bringing the application into commercial operation.
  • To address, in relation to the UIC/UNIFE collaboration, the opportunities to extend the supply of ERTMS regional and, in an optimised approach, to apply for FFFIS specification for some of the system interfaces. A TecRec approach can be employed as a pre-standardisation phase.
  • To organise working groups made up of railway specialists to finalise the UIC specifications by mid-2012. In this context, the Operation Focus Group shall organise specific work and carry over the final specification of operational requirements. Assistance to railways wishing to implement ERTMS regional may be governed by the bilateral agreements concluded between the IM or RU and the UIC Rail System Department. For this, railways should address UIC via the Director of the Rail System Department.
  • To organise a large-scale conference in order to promote the concept and offer the opportunity of a structured approach to optimise implementation.
  • The UIC representative would like to thank TRV and Bombardier for their efforts in implementing the concept and pioneering ETCS. The importance of the ERTMS regional application for the progress of ERTMS/ETCS is also underpinned by the organisation of the International ERTMS Conference in April 2012, in Borlänge, Sweden.

For more information please contact Teo Gradinariu: gradinariu@uic.org