ETCS Developing and Operation: Italian Experience

ETCS Developing and Operation: Italian Experience

Raffaele Malangone, Fabio Senesi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1643-1.ch018
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This testing process in ETCS laboratories has been useful not only before the putting the ETCS in service but also for the reconfiguration of the actual ETCS lines as it would be hard to do so many test scenario during a commercial service. These activities have been replicated several times, for example, to reach the actual ETCS version compliant to the UNISIG 2.3.0d.The success of the formal language analysis of Test-Specifications has also encouraged the RFI ETCS group to develop a state-charts model of the functional specification. This work is actually in progress but a first result, on the logical behavior of the system at the transition with a historical signalling system, has been done and validated.
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Rail transport is a strategic historical sector in the worldwide policy for a sustainable mobility (Obama, 2008) (European Commission, 2010) (European Commission, 2006). In Europe, for instance, one of the main effort for this scope has been the developing of the Trans-European projects for railway interoperability with the aim to avoid the saturation of certain major arteries, and, thus, the related pollution, and to support transport modality with a lower environmental impact, removing, for instance, the bottlenecks in the railway network and supporting the develop of an over-national railway network.

In fact, although most of the rolling stock is technically capable to travel on a wide part of the European rail network, today the same cannot be said of locomotives, which suffer numerous constraints concerning the different electrification and signalling systems (Figure 1 Signalling systems in European countries) at the borders of the national systems (European Commission, 2010) .

Figure 1.

Signalling systems in European countries


To overcome this problem, in 2004 the European Commission has issued the Directive 2004/50/EC that defines the conditions to achieve interoperability in order to guarantee the safe and uninterrupted movement of trains crossing two systems without any performance reduction The directive concerns both the high speed lines and the conventional ones, merging the Directives 96/48/EC and 2001/16/EC respectively referred to the Trans-European high speed and the Trans-European conventional rail, respectively. This process has been confirmed by the issue of Directive 2006/860/EC, amended by Directive 2007/153/EC, referred to the European Train Control System (ETCS), that will be progressively installed in all European interoperable infrastructures and rolling stock, substituting the current “national” systems. In particular, in the aforementioned Directive, ETCS has been defined in a set of specifications that are referenced in the Technical Specifications for Interoperability for the Control-command and Signalling sub-system.

In this scenario the RFI – Rete Ferroviaria Italiana – the national company that manage the railway infrastructure including the signalling and interlooking subsystems – in 2005 has carried out the first world ERTMS/ETCS Level 2 on a line (the Roma-Napoli) without a fall-back signalling system and in the following years it has completed about 900 kilometres using this technology (Senesi, 2008) (Senesi, 2007b) (Senesi, 2010).

Italy has been the first country where ETCS Level 2 has been carried out for commercial.

This paragraph wants only to be a summary of the arguments treated otherwise too many pages should be necessary, but all the details can be found in the bibliography references.


Technology And Innovation For Improving Railways

Equipments and Systems for Railways and Metros have always profited by technological progress, that has permitted a continuous improving of the safety, of the functionalities for traffic management and increasing capability.

Most of Railways Systems have a quite long life-cycle (generally 20 years), due to the carrying out times and to the returns from the fields that a costly investment must ensure; this is incompatible with the frantic technological development in the last fifteen years that continuously provides new solutions.

The slow pace of technological upgrade therefore determines the following problems:

  • 1.

    Low functional, plant and technological homogeneity;

  • 2.

    Huge technological leaps in cases of abandonment and replacement of plant;

  • 3.

    Difficulty of interfacing between components, equipment and subsystems that, even if coexisting, are designed, manufactured and introduced in very far periods.

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