Atlas Alstom ERTMS solution. Photo: Alstom

Shunting at Dutch shunting yards also possible without ERTMS

The ERTMS infrastructure setting in the track section between Kijfhoek and Roosendal will take place in a unique way. Specifically, its implementation will allow shunting locomotives at the marshalling yards in Lage Zwaluwe and Roosendaal to keep shunting without ERTMS for the time being. In this way, old shunting locomotives do not have to retrofit immediately, said ERTMS programme director Wim Knopperts.

The ERTMS programme has opted for this because the Kijfhoek and Roosendaal section is the first ERTMS section to complete in 2027. “We took this decision to remove the time pressure for the conversion of the old shunting locomotives”, said Wim Knopperts.

According to Knopperts, it is still unclear which shunting method will be used with ERTMS level 2. Consequently, this constitutes another reason for delaying the system’s full use. After all, each country implements different solutions. “If, for example, you are shunting in push-shunt mode, the ballast recorder is at the back. Then the locomotive cannot read the ERTMS signals in time. The programme is currently working on solutions to this issue”, commented Knopperts.

All eyes on ERTMS

The ERTMS programme director also pointed out that there has been a breakthrough for long haul freight locomotives. In particular, 145 locomotives belonging to eight equipment owners are placed with ERTMS suppliers to upgrade from Baseline 2 to Baseline 3.

Another piece of good news, according to Knopperts, is that Arriva has commissioned 36 trains from Stadler for retrofitting. The tender for the VIRM (double deck interregional rolling stock) of NS is still ongoing currently. Moreover, Knopperts pointed out that Siemens and Thales have entered the dialogue phase for the tender of the Central Safety System (CSS) ERTMS to install the safety system in the rail infrastructure.

On top of that, eighteen more proposals have been selected for the ASAP ERTMS tender, in which the rail operator asks the market to come up with ideas for an accelerated rollout of the safety system ERTMS. “We are proud of the progress and that the whole sector is now working on ERTMS”, said Knopperts.

Yellow and black fleet

The programme is still looking for the right solution for the yellow and black fleet, respectively the work trains and the historic rolling stock. According to the programme director, the previously mentioned ‘ETCS-Light’ solution’s costs are higher, which means that the initiative must go under further examination. Knopperts underlined that it is necessary to equip the Dutch yellow and black fleet and the railway rolling stock abroad. ETCS-Light is a mobile installation that can be placed in a locomotive.

He also called for European countries to join forces in the development of ETCS-light. “It is a fairly expensive solution with a fairly high-risk profile. If we develop it ourselves, we’ll have a Dutch uniqueness that makes you wonder whether it’s the right solution. People who work internationally don’t have much use for it. The way forward is if several countries cooperate”.

ERTMS director Wim Knopperts and ERTMS chain management migration manager Hella van Veen will present at RailTech Europe on 30 March. Check the programme of the Main Stage on the website of RailTech Europe.

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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