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Control-Command and Signalling

Zugsteuerung, Zugsicherung und Signalgebung

Railway traffic across the European borders or interoperability mean a standardisation of technology and operation in the railway system. An important matter of this interoperability idea is the European Rail Traffic Managemnet System (ERTMS), which describes the technical procedures and systems for communication between the responsible trackside and on-board participants as well as a system for the safe control of trains.

The radio communication within this system is based on the digital standard GSM. Because of a special frequency allocation for the railway sector and additional functions the manufacturers developed a new technology named GSM-R (GSM-Rail).

Additionally the voice communication GSM-R is used for data transfer of the European Train Control System (ETCS). Related to the reliability and availability ETCS defines ambitious requirements to this new radio communication system.

Radio based train control and command, with a transmission of the signal state to the vehicle, leads to a new situation for all participants in the trans-European railway system. In all areas outside the train control and command system already existing rules and techniques within Europe were just adapted and harmonised. ETCS is a new solution for the interface between driver and traffic contoller.

To meet the requirements of different lines ETCS is defined in three operating levels:

  • For lines with lower speed or traffic density ETCS level 1 is specified. It uses the information of line-side signals and transmits it via balises to the train. This solution is similar to the national PZB system and can be used in Germany for a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
  • For high speed lines level 2 is applicable without the need of line-side signals. The train is continuously locating itself, only axle counters or track circuits are mandatory to surprise train integrity.
  • In level 3 the train is additionally able to surprise its integrity, so axle counters or track circuits are no longer needed.

The whole ERTMS is split into the trackside and on-board subsystem, which are themselves divided into interoperability constituents. The advantage of this solution is that a subsystem can be assembled with constituents built by different manufacturers. But it is mandatory that each constituent exactly fulfils the specified requirements.

The Control-Command and signalling unit offers

  • assessment of conformity for interoperability constituents and groups of constituents
  • EC verification of subsystems of the new ERTMS system.

In the last ten years we certified numerous constituents like Eurobalises in this field.

Complete subsystems like ETCS lines on level 1 and 2 - nationally and internationally - have been part of our certification portfolio as well as certification of on-board equipment on the different levels.

As a result EISENBAHN-CERT prossesses a long term competence and experience in the European proceeding of certification. The Control, Command and Signalling unit provides competent service to railways and railway industry regarding the challenge of the harmonisation of the European railways in the term of ERTMS and ETCS. By regular participation in international working groups we can guarantee the necessary know how for the forthcoming new specifications.


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