Network Rail and ProRail have initiated a strategic collaboration to develop the next generation of train security and control, by sharing knowledge and working together on research and development in this area.
The goal is to test and deliver the next generation of ERTMS (level 2+ and level 3) as quickly as possible. Part of the collaboration includes an operational test with ERTMS level 3 on a test track in the UK in the coming years. With ERTMS level 3, the train itself indicates where it is rather than being detected by the track, which helps boost capacity and reliability, cuts costs and facilitates migration to ERTMS.
Martin Arter, Programme Development Director at Digital Railway said: ‘Embracing modern digital technology and leveraging the benefits that brings is essential for any modern railway. Old technology is limiting our ability to deliver more trains, more connections and greater reliability, so we must accelerate our rate of change. By working together, Digital Railway and ProRail are helping to secure maximum benefit from the digital revolution in rail and help set the agenda for the future.’
Chris Verstegen, Chief Innovation Officer at ProRail said: ‘We can only achieve the huge potential of digital technology in rail if we shift our mindset from talking to testing. Working together with the Digital Railway and other international partners is crucial to make new technology proven technology and create the new standards that can be used by railways throughout Europe.’
According to ERTMS Programme Director Wim Fabries, the collaboration between Network Rail and ProRail ties in well with the ERTMS programme in the Netherlands. ‘The ERTMS programme focuses on realising the new safety technology ERTMS on a number of important lines in the greater Randstad area in the Netherlands. It has been decided to roll out ERTMS level 2 in the Netherlands as this is tried and tested technology that offers the necessary improvement in capacity. It is expected that level 3 will not be tried and tested before 2025, as was stated in the Preference Decision made at the beginning of 2014. One of the programme’s goals is to keep people on the look-out for new technological developments, and this collaboration is extremely useful in this regard.