In a signing ceremony at the InnoTrans fair in Berlin, European Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc oversaw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the European Commission, the European Union Agency for Railways, and the rail sector organisations (CER, EIM, EPTTOLA, ERFA, the ERTMS Users Group, GSM-R Industry Group, UIC, UNIFE and UNISIG). The MoU is intended to formalise an integrated management process for ERTMS deployment in Europe.
With these ambitious and concrete commitments from the rail sector, the full benefits of ERTMS can be reaped. Thanks to the stable specifications, and a collaborative management structure with the ERTMS Stakeholder Platform, interoperability in Europe can finally be achieved. European Commissioner Violeta Bulc stressed that compliance and affordability are key for success: “l call for the industry to provide compliant and affordable equipment so that ERTMS equipped vehicles shall be able to freely circulate on the entire European network.”
The new MoU puts in place the framework to give legal and technical certainty to a train equipped with the latest ERTMS release to run on any compatible line with acceptable level of performance. It also requires mature management of this software based system, with customers and suppliers introducing appropriate clauses for software maintenance in their contracts.
The MoU framework takes into account results of the Longer Term Perspective initiative, future game changers for the digitalisation of the rail system, and accounts for the new competences of the system authority, the European Union Agency for Railways, under the 4th Railway Package.
Infrastructure managers (IMs) commit to ensure free circulation of vehicles equipped with ERTMS, and to comply, on a voluntary basis, with the requirements of the Agency for the approval of trackside projects in advance of the legal deadline of 2019.