EC approves state aid for Danish ERTMS

The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules a Danish scheme to support rail freight operators’ investment in new on-board traffic management equipment. The scheme will contribute to making railway systems more interoperable in the EU without unduly distorting competition. The beneficiaries will be the locomotive operators. The total budget of DKK 55 million (around EUR 7.4 million) will be allocated to operators already present on the Danish rail network, as well as to new operators.
Between 2018 and 2023, all regional and long-distance rail tracks operated by the Danish State will gradually be converted to the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), the European standard for Automatic Train Protection (ATP) that allows an interoperable railway system in Europe.
Conversion to ERTMS gives rise to significant transition costs for rail operators, including rail freight operators, who will have to invest in new on-board equipment compatible with the system. The Danish scheme is designed to support the cost for rail freight operators of investing in this new equipment. The state support takes the form of direct grants to be used for fitting the new equipment in eligible new locomotives, and for retro-fitting such equipment in eligible locomotives already in use.
Under the Danish Signalling Programme, by the end of 2023 Banedanmark will replace all the signalling system across the railway network will be replaced with ERTMS and all signalling on the Copenhagen S-bane with CBTC by 2021.
The strategy envisages an investment of EUR 2.5 billion. It takes into account a full ERTMS level 2 baseline 3 implementation including all on-board and trackside equipment on the Fjernbane, a full CBTC-system on the S-bane, all interlocking equipment, countrywide coverage of traffic management systems and GSM-R data system, interface management, stakeholder management, project management, safety approvals, design, testing, implementation, training and a series of changes to the internal processes of Banedanmark.
In 2016, Alstom and Banedanmark have successfully tested an ETCS level 2 baseline 3 application for the first time ever. The tests were conducted between Roskilde and Gadstrup, as part of the Danish Eastern network upgrade being delivered by Alstom. The tests were performed on the Early Deployment line and conducted from Copenhagen’s Traffic Control Centre equipped with Alstom’s traffic management system. The operational test train from Alstom was equipped with ETCS L2, a STM (Standard Transmission Module) and legacy system. The tracks were equipped with Alstom’s Radio Block Centre and interlocking system, using simulated inputs.

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