Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA) awarded Thales a contract to design, delivery, install and commission the signalling system and ETCS L2 test system for Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina line, one of the most important railway lines in Finland. The new signalling system is expected to enter commercial operation in early 2023.
Under the project, the agency will test the radio networks provided by commercial telecom operators for the transmission of ETCS data in the communication between the Radio Block Centre (RBC) and the rolling stock. The test system will be ground-breaking in Europe, and the big goal is to prepare for the introduction of Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) as soon as EU standards allow.
“Finland is a pioneer in the digitalisation of railways. With the help of the upcoming test track, we are taking a significant leap towards the modern radio network-based ETCS system that Finland is seeking. The system is based on 5G technology and it aims to be compatible with FRMCS. I’m sure that test results will arouse great interest all over Europe,” said Juha Lehtola, Project Manager of Finnish ERTMS program at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency.
Finland’s goal is to build this test track to support the goal of building a radio network based ETCS covering the entire country. Another key goal of this project is to develop the competence of Finnish signalling system experts at ETCS L2. A key element will be the post-signature specification phase, where the more precise content of the ETCS part will be defined, developed, and designed jointly with Thales. The aim is to find a generic ETCS level 2 solution that best supports the project and Finland’s future goals.
“The Kouvola – Kotka – Hamina railway is very important route for Finnish freight traffic. We will finally get the safety of modern signalling system on the track. At the same time we take a leap towards the future by building the ETCS test track.” Esa Sirkiä, Division Director of Projects at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency said.
The Kotka-Kouvola-Hamina will be the first ETCS L2 test track in Finland and will launch a nation-wide train control system update to ETCS L2. Thales has previously delivered new signalling solutions for Finland and by this contract, the railway network will be improved, providing safe and digitalised transport services.
The line in Southern Finland connects the ports of Hamina and Kotka which are important to the country.