Tuesday, April 14, 2015

EU Investment in Freight and Passenger Rail Systems to Boost Safety and Timekeeping

Aim is to Simplify and Unify Train Controls
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – Several European countries will benefit from the latest tranche of investments announced by the EU as part of the TEN-T Programme which will assist in the development of freight and passenger rail borne services. The installation of the common European Train Control System (ETCS) is anticipated to improve the interoperability, safety, reliability and capacity on European railways and Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark and the UK are all scheduled to benefit.

Seven separate projects aim to contribute to the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) in the EU and whilst increasing the overall capacity of the rail network, the projects are expected to boost freight and passenger traffic safety and improve the timekeeping of trains.

Nearly €7 million of the total amount will go to the ETCS deployment in Belgium, where ETCS will be installed on 64 M6 double deck carriages (Level 2, Baseline 2) and on one I11BDx train cab (Level2, Baseline 3) contributing to the national rail fleet upgrade programme. The ETCS will further be installed on 10 Class 66 locomotives (Level 2, Baseline 2). Adjacent Luxembourg-based companies will receive over €3.5 million to equip and upgrade 85 locomotives with ETCS (Level 1 and 2, Baseline 2 and 3), enabling their operation on ETCS-equipped railway lines in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany.

The Danish train fleet may become the first in Europe to fully use ETCS (Level 2, Baseline 3). The EU funding of almost €4 million will support the prototyping, installation and testing of ETCS on-board equipment on 52 Danish locomotives currently in use. It is part of the Danish national programme aiming to renew the entire signalling system on the country's rail network by 2021.

Australian headquartered investment bank Macquarie’s UK based subsidiary company Macquarie Rail will receive €750,000 to equip 10 TRAXX locomotives (Bombardier gave the Class 185 the appalling acronym for Transnational Railway Applications with eXtreme flexibility) with ETCS (Level 2, Baseline 2), allowing their operation in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy.

The projects were selected for EU funding with the assistance of external experts under the TEN-T Multi-Annual Call 2013, priority 'European rail traffic management system'. Their implementation will be monitored by INEA, the European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency and all projects are to be completed by December 2015.

Photo: A TRAXX locomotive in action.