UIC and Trafikverket (formally Banverket) from Sweden launched an ERTMS regional project in 1999. The main reason for this was that the conventional ETCS-system was becoming too costly for low density lines and so Trafikverket needed to find a solution based on ERTMS specifications. Functional requirement specifications were developed in 2003, following which Trafikverket launched an open tendering process in accordance with EU rules. After a period of evaluation Bombardier was selected to equip the Västerdalsbanan pilot line in 2005. Together with the supplier, Trafikverket and UIC developed all the specifications and risk analyses between 2006 and 2007. After that it took three years to develop the system. ERTMS Regional was first installed on the pilot line in 2009. After a year’s work the testing of installations and functionality started in 2010 and at the end of 2011 all the tests were completed. The line was commissioned for commercial traffic on 21 February 2012.
ERTMS Regional is the first application of ETCS Level 3 train control with fixed block and no train integrity monitoring system. The system has been designed according to Cenelec norms and fulfils Cenelec SIL 4 requirements with a SIL 3 safety classification. The onboard system has been equipped with the normal ERTMS system and has been adopted without any changes to the existing system. Compared to normal interlocking and ETCS Level 1 and Level 2, one of the biggest advantages of the Regional solution is that the interlocking functions and RBC (Radio Block Centre) are integrated. The Object Controller and RBC connect directly to the Traffic Control Centre (TCC), which is located in Borlänge, and only one TCC is needed to handle the whole line. The TCC also directly connects to the Traffic Management System in Gävle. The Regional solution could cut investment costs by half.
The main differences can be seen in the track side equipment. There is no need for track vacancy proving systems and optical signals, meaning fewer cables are needed. The object controllers handle points and level crossings and all outside equipment needed. Due to the decreased amount of controlled objects only one small Object Controller cabin is needed in the stations, resulting in lower investments and maintenance costs.
ERTMS Regional is most suitable for lines which are equipped with old interlocking which should be removed, no line block systems, no existing ATP (Automatic Train Protection) system and dispatching is handled manually by telephone. 20 – 30% of the European rail network can probably be regarded as regional line and the system meets all the latest interoperability requirements.
ERTMS Regional increases safety, capacity and flexibility in lines where it is suitable for use. From a commercial point of view it will expand the ERTMS market when ERTMS Regional is part of ERTMS family and will be open to all railways and suppliers.
UIC will continue to finalise the Regional specifications to make them available to all interested parties. The Working Group will be established this year and the target is to have generic specifications and an ERTMS regional deployment plan by the end of 2014.