Belgian rail operator, Infrabel, and Alstom have just signed a framework contract aimed at continuing the deployment of the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS 1) in Belgium. The framework contract covers provisions for equipping and configuring 4,000 signals with beacons, together with a 15-year maintenance agreement. Within this framework, Infrabel has just awarded Alstom a €29.5 million order for the supply of Atlas 100 2 and TBL1+ equipment. Infrabel will handle the equipment’s installation. The contract value could ultimately total €47.5 million.
The TBL1+ driver assistance system and ETCS 3 speed control system are crucial to railway safety. They trigger automatic braking when a train exceeds the authorised speed limit as it approaches signals requiring a stop, as well as automatic braking when such signals are crossed.
Placed at regular intervals along the track, the beacons communicate directly with the ETCS equipment on board trains. This arrangement has a number of advantages. It continually controls the trains’ maximum authorised speed and guarantees interoperability throughout the European system, making it unnecessary to equip cross-border trains with several different systems.
The equipment is slated for delivery between 2013 and 2018, in accordance with an accelerated rollout schedule for TBL1+. In a second phase, after the software is updated, the technology will be brought into full compliance with the pan-European ETCS standard by the year 2022. With Alstom’s help, Infrabel is pulling out all the stops to make the Belgian rail network one of Europe’s three safest.
“This order shows that Alstom’s proven technology is recognised as meeting the ETCS standard at a competitive price,” confirms Marcel Miller, President of Alstom Belgium. In Europe, Alstom’s ETCS technology is used on nearly 30% of track and 60% of trains equipped of these solutions (i.e. some 2,700 trains, including 1,300 already in commercial service).
Alstom is a major player worldwide in the design, manufacture and maintenance of complete rail transport systems, and a leading developer of railway signalling systems and subsystems. This technology offers optimal safety levels with a large number of standard solutions, as well as customised solutions to fit the needs of the different national operators. Alstom also has an unrivalled head start in the deployment of interoperability in Europe, the main market for ERTMS, with a competence centre located in Charleroi. Alstom is participating in more than 30 ERTMS projects in Europe, including the Rome-Naples line in Italy, the L3 high-speed line linking Liege with the German border and the L4 line linking Antwerp with the Dutch border (towards Rotterdam/Breda); the Mattstetten-Rothrist line in Switzerland, used by the largest equipped fleet; and the Betuwe Route freight line in the Netherlands, which is part of Corridor C.
Infrabel is the public limited company responsible for the management, maintenance, renewal and development of the Belgian rail network. The company is also responsible for granting rights of way to Belgian and foreign operators. Infrabel’s particular shareholding structure guarantees that it is fully independent. Infrabel was created on 1 January 2005 after the split of Belgian railways and is part of the SNCB group. The company currently employs some 12,750 persons and generates revenues of €1 billion (2010).
1 ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) is a command and control system for trans-European rail networks.
2 The Alstom solution for the level 1 ERTMS standard
3 ETCS (European Train Control System) is a component of ERTMS.