The European Commission has granted SNCF Réseau 31 million euros to finance the installation of ETCS equipment on 252 passenger vehicles and freight locomotives. Additionally, the Caisse des Dépôts, a French government-backed agency, supports the railway signalling project for an equal contribution, SNCF announced last week.
The fact that the roll-out of the European train control system ERTMS is behind schedule is no disaster according to Simon Fletcher, director Europe at the international rail organisation UIC. He said this in a video interview as a preview to RailTech Europe. Fletcher says that such projects are usually rolled out a little too enthusiastically, and in a way the current state of affairs can even be called a small success.
Austrian operator ÖBB has given one of their locomotives a special European Year of Rail design. The locomotive was presented at a ceremony at Vienna central station last week, and will be on the tracks in Austria and neighbouring countries as a sign of European sustainable mobility by rail. “The EU needs more railways so that we can achieve the climate goals, but the railways also need more Europe in order to become faster, more digital and more efficient in the future”, said ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä.
Lithuanian company Viezo is working on sensors for the weight monitoring of freight wagons. Loading wagons too heavy on one side can lead to derailments, which has happened in the past. Like all of Viezo’s sensors, the sensors will be powered by vibration energy harvesting, a technology with very low maintenance needs.
When it comes to restoring disruptions on the track, the manual planning for taking track out of service still causes hours of delay. Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail recently started using an application developed in collaboration with software company CGI. This reduces the process of requesting a Workplace Security Instruction (WBI) to a few seconds or minutes. Developing the DDIO (Data Driven Infra Withdrawals) application took two years of work.
The European Commission must do more to create a level playing field for the various forms of mobility, so that trains can better compete with air and road transport, says Maurizio Castelletti. He is responsible for the realisation and implementation of the Single European Railway Area (SERA) within the relevant directorate of the European Commission.
After tests on the Øresund Bridge with a Vectron locomotive from Siemens Mobility, the ERTMS installation on the bridge and the transition between the Swedish and the Danish signalling system is validated. This means the on-board ERTMS equipment works for smooth cross-border operation between Sweden, Denmark and Germany.
One of the spearheads in the new Mobility Strategy of the European Union is the pricing of CO2, also for transport. In addition, the proceeds from a kilometre charge for trucks should be used to improve sustainable transport, for example through investments in railways. This says Elisabeth Werner, Land Transport Director of the European Transport Directorate (DG Move).
The deployment of ERTMS is lagging behind schedule. In April 2020, the installation of the system reached just 78 percent of the target for 2019. Under the ERTMS European deployment plan, the EU signalling system should be deployed on 15.682 kilometres of track by 2023, of which currently 38 percent has been realised. This is stated in a recent rail market monitoring by the European Commission.
At the beginning of the German election year 2021, eight railway associations presented their most important demands for their next federal government. Three billion euros a year for infrastructure, the entire digitalisation of the railways by 2035 and accelerating the modal shift by directing at least two thirds of the investments in transport infrastructure into the rail network. That is what the associations advocate in a joint paper, presented on January 21.