Škoda Group and Speno International have entered a strategic partnership centred around system integration engineering and authorisation services to integrate ETCS in rail vehicles.
The collaboration agreement covers 15 Speno’s yellow fleet vehicles which expands Škoda’s presence on Switzerland market, as a new country for the group.
The ETCS technology “optimises rail operations by reducing accident risks, increasing network capacity, and promoting cross-border compatibility. With the recent acquisition of The Signalling Company earlier this year, we have expanded our portfolio to include ETCS technology and the expertise required for seamless integration into the vehicles. As Europe transitions to a unified system, we stand ready to leverage our knowledge and experience to contribute to this important evolution,” Jan Christoph Harder, President Region West and North Škoda Group, said.
ETCS, a technology designed to enhance railway safety, reliability, and efficiency, will be integrated into four vehicles within the next two years, with plans for an additional 11 vehicles in the pipeline. The goal is to incorporate this system into five different types of customer fleet vehicles. The primary challenge lies in securing authorisation across 16 different countries, each with its unique set of National Technical Rules (NNTR). Consequently, the project will start with a comprehensive requirements assessment and analysis of NNTR for each country.
Škoda Group’s acquisition of The Signalling Company has significantly elevated its competitiveness within the European train manufacturing industry. This strategic move has empowered the group to offer a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to railway operators across Europe. Currently, The Signalling Company is equipping 110 locomotives with ETCS for Lineas, Europe’s largest private freight rail operator. Furthermore, Škoda Group possesses experience to install ETCS in rail vehicles within the Czech market, having successfully retrofitted nearly 250 rolling stock vehicles to date.
“The European Train Control System stands as a common European signalling system designed to ensure unified railway operations and enhance safety across the continent. It replaces a multitude of previously disparate and often outdated national systems. ETCS comprises two fundamental components: the on-board unit, directly installed on vehicles, and the trackside equipment, placed along railway tracks. While essential for high-speed rail networks, ETCS is also crucial for enhancing safety on standard rail lines,” Stanislas Pinte, Vice President Signalling at Škoda Group said.