ČD begins ETCS operation trials on Olomouc – Uničov line

operation under ETCSČeské dráhy has started the test operation under ETCS in electric traction on the 29 km single-track Olomouc – Uničov line which was electrified at 3 kV in 2021.

According to the operator, the trials will be performed at least one month with ETCS operation testing to be extended to other railway lines.

Initially, the preparation for exclusive operation under the supervision of ETCS was estimated to take about half a year, but “the circumstances outside Czech Railways meant that we had to manage everything in just a month. I believe that our train drivers, trainers, technicians and in general all colleagues will manage everything in an extremely short time and we will be ready to ride on this train from January 1, 2023 line in exclusive operation under the supervision of the ETCS system,” Jiří Ješeta, member of the board of directors of ČD said.

The test operation will be provided on up to 6 connections per day by locomotives of the 362 WTB prototype vehicles. Together with the newly delivered RegioPanter series 650.2 electric units, they will ensure operation from January 1, 2023, when operation on the Olomouc – Uničov line will be launched under the exclusive supervision of the ETCS security system. This will be the first line in the Czech Republic served by České dráhy, on which only vehicles equipped with this state-of-the-art security system will operate.

In the course of 2023, new three-car RegioPanter units of the 640.2 series will take over train service on this line.

Until December, the trial operation under ETCS will also be prepared on the Kolín – Pardubice – Česká Třebová with 162 WTB locomotives and on the Plzeň – Cheb railway line, RegioPanter 650.2 electric units will perform the trials. As of March 2022, the ETCS trials have been underway on the Olomouc – Přerov – Břeclav line with the locomotives of the 362 WTB series. The train drivers of these vehicles are also continuously trained at Olomouc, Česká Třebová and Pilsen operational centres.

By the end of the year, České dráhy will have more than 100 train drivers who will be qualified to operate under the supervision of ETCS.

Currently, 50 vehicles (of type 162 WTB, 362, 362 WTB locomotives and the 650.2 electric multimple units) of České dráhy are capable of driving under the supervision of ETCS. In May 2022, ČD received from ČD – Telematikaand AŽD Praha the prototype vehicle of the 362 WTB series retrofitted with the ETCS.  ČD – Telematika is currently retrofitting the Pendolino units (series 680) and the CityElefant units (series 471) with the ETCS system.

In 2019, České dráhy signed a framework agreement with ČD – Telematika and AŽD Praha to equip with the ETCS 131 electric vehicles. The firm order included ETCS on-board installation for 102 traction vehicles of series 162 WTB, 362 and 362 WTB with a total value of CKZ 1.4 billion (EUR 57.5 million).  Alstom Belgium and ČMŽO – elektronika also participate in the supply and installation of ETCS.

The operator is continuously fitting its rolling stock with the new train control system. In May, the company announced that it has contracted more than 400 current vehicles for ETCS retrofitting which are expected to pass the approval process.

At present, we have contracted for the delivery of ETCS for more than 400 current vehicles, so-called retrofits, also we have concluded contracts and binding orders for 246 completely new vehicles, which will be delivered from production already equipped with ETCS,”

For the 844 RegioShark series, the prototype has been completed and is now being approved and prepared for trial operation. Other projects to install the ETCS to current vehicles are in various stages of development, and new the vehicles that are equipped with the ETCS are gradually being delivered.

By 2025 the Czech Republic intends to begin exclusive ETCS operation on selected corridor lines.

The Czech Republic has already equipped several hundreds of kilometers

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