The European Commission has approved a EUR 22.2 million of public support to upgrade traffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the Netherlands.
The funds will be used to install the latest version of ERTMS on the 99 cross-border freight locomotives.
The public support will take the form of direct grants to the owners of the locomotives, to be used for the prototyping and serial upgrades of the equipment. The public support by the Dutch state will be complemented by grants for a total of EUR 23.8 million financed through the Connecting Europe Facility.
CEF funding is used by the Netherlands to three ERTMS projects for freight locomotives. Under the CEF 2016 call, a EUR 5.3 million grant was provided to upgrade of 63 Siemens locomotives from ERTMS Level 2, Baseline 2 to Baseline 3. EUR 10.58 million is the total eligible cost for Dutch beneficiaries.
Under the 2017 CEF-Transport call, the Netherlands was awarded two grants. One of the projects envisages the upgrade of ERTMS/ETCS on-board units components to Baseline 3 (B3) on 44 freight vehicles, including 8 prototype upgrades and 36 serial upgrades, of various types already equipped with ETCS Level 1 and Level 2, Baseline 2 (B2). The locomotives are owned by 6 vehicle owners and 1 railway undertaking, and operate primarily, but not solely, in the cross-border traffic on the Rhine-Alpine as well as on parts of the North Sea-Mediterranean and the North Sea-Baltic Core Network Corridors. EUR 39.4 million is the total eligible cost, of which EU contribution amounts EUR 17.74 million.
The second action under the 2017 CEF call has a total value of EUR 13.5 million, with a 45% EU support, representing EUR 6 million. This project covers the upgrade to Baseline 3 of the ERTMS/ETCS on-board unit components (OBUs) of 55 Bombardier Traxx Multiple System cross-border freight locomotives of 3 different types. The locomotives are already equipped with ETCS Level 1 and Level 2, Baseline 2. The upgrade includes 3 prototype and 52 serial upgrades. The locomotives are owned by 4 railway vehicle owners.
The state aid approved by the EC, including the CEF funding is part of the EU’s ERTMS deployment plan which requires that about 30% – 40% of the Core Network Corridors should be equipped with ERTMS by 2023. To meet these requirements, the Netherlands plans to deploy the latest version of ERTMS on a large share of its core national railway network, which is part of the European Core Network Corridors.
The owners of the locomotives, who invested in the retrofitting of their freight locomotives with former versions of the ERTMS on-board equipment in the past, will need to upgrade the existing equipment to ensure interoperability with the latest version of the ERTMS and will have to face significant costs.