NMBS/SNCB, the Belgian National Railways, awarded Siemens Mobility a contract to retrofit 390 trains and steering cars with the ETCS Level 2 technology, including the maintenance service delivery for 10 years and also provision of an Online Key Management Solution which will further digitalise train operation.
Siemens Mobility will retrofit 305 Siemens Desiro commuter trains, 64 M6 steering cars and 21 I11 steering cars supplied by Bombardier/Alstom. Siemens Mobility will initially retrofit and re-authorise a prototype of each vehicle type.
Siemens Mobility will provide the onboard unit equipment and installation support for trains across the fleet. The new technology will not only support the existing national functions in Belgium and Luxembourg, the re-authorisation of a number of the retrofitted vehicles will also allow the vehicles to potentially operate in Germany and the Netherlands.
The retrofitting of the fleet will be carried out through a comprehensive approach that includes the design of a vehicle-specific system integration concept. Where feasible, essential parts of the existing ETCS onboard unit equipment will be maintained. Siemens Mobility has already equipped the Desiro trains in the fleet with a previous version of the Trainguard ETCS Level 1 solution. This approach will also enable the upgrade of the Alstom based ETCS on-board solutions that were equipped on the I11 and M6-style steering cars supplied by Bombardier.
By investing in the new ETCS Level 2 technology, the Belgian Railways will meet the latest European standards baseline V3.6.0 for rail safety. The new system will also simplify future upgrades to the next ETCS versions according to TSI standards, which provides the basis for additional functionalities like Automatic Train Operation (ATO).
“This project is another important step in transforming the European railway towards a harmonised and interoperable system that safely paves the way for cross border rail transportation,” Andre Rodenbeck, CEO of Rail Infrastructure at Siemens Mobility said.
With the ETCS Level 2 upgrade, the Belgian train fleet will be able to operate with a greater degree of efficiency and meet the latest European standards for rail safety interoperability.