Czech rail infrastructure manager SŽ has announced the completed of ETCS Level 2 installation on Usti nad Orlici – Lichkov rail line, on the state border with Poland.
It is planned that the line will be operated by a mix of trains comprising vehicles fitted with on-board ETCS as well as trains which do not run with the installed system.
Along the 35 km line there are 248 non-switchable Eurobalises which are used to transmit the information between the track and train.
The project “ETCS installation on the Usti nad Orlici – Lichkov rail line was co-financed by the European Union through the Cohestion fund under the Transport Programme 2021-2027. The maximum amount of support from the European Union is 85% of eligible costs. Financing from national sources was provided by the SFDI (State Fund for Transport Infrastructure).
The digital system has been deployed by AŽD Praha since April 2022 and CZK 306 million (EUR 12.8 million) is the value of the project.
The line joins the 50 km Prague-Uhříněves – Votice rail line equipped with ETCS in 2021 by AŽD Praha. This line is part of the rail transit corridor IV. In 2021, Správa železnic has also complete the deployment of the ETCS Level 2 on the Petrovice – Břeclav mainline. This line, together with Břeclav – Česká Třebová – Kolín and Praha – Olbramovice lines were used by SŽ, ČD Cargo and Siemens to successfully complete ETCS compatibility of Vectron locomotives.
In November 2022, the state-owned operator České dráhy started trial operation under ETCS on the 29 km Olomouc – Uničov railway which this year would be operated by new three – car RegioPanter trains. Olomouc – Uničov is the first Czech rail line to exclusively operate under ETCS and is considered to be essential from 2025 when several rail sections are expected to exclusively operate with ETCS.
In March, SŽ has launched the tender for the installation of the ETCS on the Kralupy nad Vltavou – Hrobce line at the state border with Germany. Under the CZK 11.8 billion (EUR 495.6 million) tender SŽ will sign the first ever contract for exclusive operation of ETCS and will also include the provision of maintenance services for the entire lifetime of the equipment. The ETCS will replace the legacy B type LS system.
Under the first call for proposals of the CEF2 2021-2027, the Czech Republic obtained a co-financing of EUR 430.34 million for 12 ETCS on-board and trackside installation. EUR 401.8 million will support eight trackside projects and EUR 28.5 million will be used to equip 284 vehicles – projects which are estimated at a total value of EUR 49.3 million.
This year, ČD-Telematika and Alstom signed two agreements for the supply of ETCS Level 2 for seven Pendolino trains operating the Line 680 and for 66 electric vehicles operating on the Line 471.
Between 2022 and 2030, the operators would need CZK 15 billion (EUR 630 million) to equip the rolling stock which would benefit European funding from CEF, operational programmes and State Transport Infrastructure Fund.
By 2025, in the Czech Republic, 1,092 vehicles need to be equipped with the ETCS. In 2021 the system had been installed on 98 vehicles, for 370 vehicles the contracts have been signed (including new vehicles to be delivered with the ETCS and retrofitted vehicles) while projects have been submitted for the financing of 275 vehicles. For 482 vehicles the situation is somewhat uncertain.
In 2021, the Czech government adopted the “Modern signalling plan on the rail network – ETCS implementation” plan highlighting the vision to install the new system on 4,600 km lines until 2030 when 5,400 km of rail tracks will be equipped across the rail network. This would mean that the ETCS will be equipped on 60% of the Czech rail network which ensure 98% of the traffic performance. According to the strategy, by 2040, the authorities also plan to install the digital system on the remaining 4,000 km of lines meaning that the entire railway network will be operational under the ETCS.