Safety and efficiency are two of the highest priorities on any railway network. The ERTMS manages the railway traffic on high speed, national lines in Europe, a task which is critical to guaranteeing the safe and efficient transit of passengers and freight across the continent. However, half of the European rail network is made up of smaller, regional networks which are critical to local economies. In some cases, the signalling on these regional networks is still operated manually, due in part to a lack of reliable connectivity infrastructure. This infrastructure needs to be upgraded to make these regional networks interoperable and as safe as possible.
Francesco Rispoli, Manager of Satellite Technology at Ansaldo STS, explains the importance of overcoming these barriers: “Train operators in Europe are evaluating plans to upgrade their regional and local railway system primarily to make the infrastructure more efficient, but also to
improve the safety where the lines are still manually operated, and in some cases lacking the automatic override capabilities that protect against inevitable cases of human error. However, there is a significant cost implicated in the deployment of telecommunications infrastructure, such as GSM-R, along these railway lines. According to a recent study by the transport economics experts, ESA 3InSat team of Bocconi University, 28,000km of European railway lines could benefit from a more efficient ERTMS solution which utilises satellite technology”.