Piloting Europe’s latest railway signalling system

Sophisticated European railway signalling equipment is to be tested on a short section of rail line in southern Romania. The 4.5-year project will pave the way for country-wide rail modernisation, while ensuring safer, faster and more efficient international railway services and connections.

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Installation and testing of the new railway signalling system ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 (European Rail Traffic Management System/European Train Control System Application Level 2) will be done on a 37 km stretch of the Bucharest to Brasov railway line. It forms part of the TEN-T Priority Axis 22 railway line, which runs from Constanta to the border with Hungary (close to Curtici).

Full testing

The ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 system will be installed and tested on the line from Buftea, some 20 km north of Bucharest, to Brazi. The aim is learn more about the operational side of the system, ahead of its nationwide deployment, and to support the European ERTMS Deployment Plan of 2009.

The main activities include bringing this rail stretch up to ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 standards. Plans include the installation of track-side transmitters and on-board equipment in a minimum of six passenger service locomotives from CFR Calatori. A rail-based GSM radio network will also be set up, including fibre optic transmission equipment, interfaces to other systems and two Mobile Services Switching Centres (MSCs) – one main MSC and one backup for disaster-recovery purposes – located respectively in Bucharest and Ploiesti.

Benefits for national and international trains

The project will deliver a modernised railway line fitted with Europe’s latest rail traffic management system, creating 30 jobs while the works are being carried out. Vital financial, economic and operational knowledge will be gained from the testing, evaluation and revision of existing Romanian operational rulebooks for trains on this line. This will yield recommendations on everything from planning to maintenance of the new railway signalling system.

Acquired knowledge will feed into subsequent railway modernisation investments across the nation. It will also facilitate the extensive rollout of ERTMS Level 2 planned for the Curtici-Brasov section of the northern branch of the TEN-T Priority Axis 22 infrastructure, resulting in better technical interoperability for international trains.

Draft date