EU authorities accelerates the implementation of ERTMS

On 16-17 April 2012, EC and the Danish Presidency opened a conference in Copenhagen on the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), the best solution for the development of the single railway area, setting a single standard for the signalling equipments permitting the easy traffic of trains on compatible national networks with no delays, extra checks or “fine-tuning”. ERTMS as a modern high-performance system will create a unified railway area.

The conference addresses those obstacles that must first be overcome in order to achieve a seamless cross-border service Europeans really need. The conference also gives an opportunity to present a recommendation by the European Railway Agency on how to improve technical rules for the deployment of the ERTMS system.

“A great part of the ERTMS benefit will lose if the system is implemented by a single country. Member states have jointly decided to accelerate the implementation and they have to work together. We should all cooperate if we want trains to run on the entire Trans-European network”, declared Siim Kallas, Vice President of the Commission responsible with transport. The new version of ERTMS is particularly awaited by Denmark and Switzerland, as these two countries have decided to use it to equip their entire network in the coming years.

“The European Railway Agency and the Commission committed in 2008 to deliver this new version of the specification by 2012 and I’m very happy to see that it is becoming reality. This will allow us to implement ERTMS on the totality of our network as foreseen”, said the Danish transport minister Henrik Dam Kristensen.

Switzerland has already signed a contract to equip its entire network by 2017, for a total cost of EUR 250 Million (less than EUR 80,000 per kilometre). In Denmark, signalling problems due to infrastructure management account for about half of all delays. This is why ERTMS deployment is included in a larger project which aims to renew totally the rail signalling and traffic management systems in Denmark. The project includes other elements such as renewal of interlocking and equipment of trains. The total investment is EUR 3.2 Billion over a period of 12 years.

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