Freek van Arkel

New fibre optic connection on Dutch Betuweroute

A 135-kilometer fiber optic connection was put into operation on the Dutch Betuweroute between Rotterdam and Zevenaar last weekend. The network has more capacity than the old fiber optic connection and is now connected to all seventy technical locations on the freight dedicated route. In addition, Alstom has migrated the ERTMS Level 2 train safety system, which is already applied on this railway line, to the new fiber optic cable.

The project for the construction of the new fiber optic network was commissioned by ProRail Randstad South by Stam and Co Infratechniek and B-Next. The migration from train protection to the new fiber optic cable was carried out in collaboration with Alstom, supplier of the ERTMS system for the Betuweroute.

Construction Betuweroute

During the construction of the Betuweroute, two small fiber optic connections were installed, says project manager Huub van Laar of B-Next: “These cables go to a number of specific technical locations. Nowadays, however, there must be an IP facility at every location in order to use all services. That is why it was decided to renew the fiber optic network on the Betuweroute. ”

Roll-out network

After a tendering process, the physical roll-out of the new fiber optic network started in January 2019. The project had several objectives, according to Van Laar. “The new fiber-optic connection makes it possible to connect all locations on the Betuweroute to the modern IP communication network Fides.” ProRail has already started on the Betuweroute with the replacement of the old ATM network by the faster Fides network.

“Fides include rail-based systems to run trains, such as the control of the 25 kV traction voltage, for the overhead contact line. The train protection, or interlocking, goes via another network over the same cables. For all these systems, the new connection offers higher capacity and availability. In addition, all seventy locations on the Betuweroute are now linked together. ”

The rail freight connection Betuweroute has to deal with subsidence in the track in a number of places, with which the old fiber optic connection was also struggling. “We also tackled these places in this project.”

Refurbishing old cable

In addition to the construction of a new fiber-optic connection, the old cable is being cleared and refurbished, according to the project leader. “All connections are now about the new cable. The old cable will receive the new standard and will be replaced at a later time. This offers more flexibility and capacity in the future and makes it possible to take further steps with ERTMS. ”

Author: Marieke van Gompel

Marieke van Gompel is editor of RailFreight.com and chief editor of the ProMedia Group online magazines.

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