European Railway Traffic Management System

One day both ATP UK Pilot Schemes will be replaced by the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS)  which will include an even better ATP system but don't hold your breath as will probably not happen until the present systems are due to be replaced - around 2020.

For the latest developments see here

Some initial testing was carried out at the Old Dalby test track during 2003 but following the mothballing of the test track by Alstom this project was abandoned. There were plans to install a pilot ERTMS scheme on the Cambrian line in 2007 but the timescale has slipped considerably and only a small portion of the route was commissioned at the end of 2010 some twenty years after the Pilot Schemes took off! 

The opinion of some in the railway industry in the UK is that TPWS is good enough but the European Union has a different view.

For reasons best known to themselves NR undertook the virtual re-building of four scrap class 37 locos for use with ERTMS, which are now painted yellow and equipped with the necessary kit for use on the Cambrian Lines. The locos, designated class 97 and operated by DB Schenker, will provide piloting services for unfitted trains and motive power for freight/engineering trains on the route. However, they do spend a lot of time running anywhere but the Cambrian Line.

News in late 2014 suggests that NR will return to Old Dalby and equip the line with GSM-R and an ERTMS system (to be decided by testing) and an HST is also rumoured to be amongst the trains which will be tested there.

Click on the image for a bigger picture


ERTMS-fitted class 37 now re-numbered 97303 on a test run on the Midland line is  pictured in the snow near Wingfield Tunnel on 4th February 2009


There are now 24 class 158's equipped with ERTMS and one was to be tested at the Valenciennes test track in France but I don't think this happened. However despite rumours that the Class 158's did not have the additional electrical capacity to power the ERTMS equipment and problems with the driver's display by November 2010 the first part of the route was pronounced operational. See here for details

Why NR couldn't test the trains at the Old Dalby test track is a mystery, maybe it was not done on principal since they refused to rescue the track after Alstom left.

If you would like to know more about ERTMS and train protection systems on the British railway network have a look here or at the Wikipedia site here

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