I am an Infrastructure Manager
The following text is the result of a study performed by ERTMS Solutions in a vast panel of their customers in March 2014. We asked our RIM customers, prospects and partners what they identified as the major challenges in their implementation of ERTMS projects. Their answers are below. You can propose new ideas by clicking on the button at the bottom of the page.
From a Rail Infrastructure Manager’s point of view, security and interoperability should increase in the future. Those two aspects are essential for a better traffic regulation, a better composition and speed of the trains. They are also essential for a better positioning of track-side services and headways regulation.
One major problem encountered especially on ETCS level 2 is the adaption to the local signalization rules. So, one of the main challenges is to introduce national rules into an interoperable system.
One solution would be to make different constructors work together but the problem is to know whether they are ready to do so. It is unlikely that one developer will put a proprietary protocol into place in order to block the situation as it would make it impossible for him to sell his material where infrastructure is already built. This is a historical problem that will disappear with time. Some big companies subcontract a lot and it would be in their interest to use standard protocols.
We advise you to visit ERTMSFormalSpecs to give you an idea about how to avoid such a situation.
Also, not all the countries apply the same strategy when it comes to rebuild their infrastructure. In Denmark, for instance, the entire infrastructure is changed at once whereas in Belgium everything is adapted step by step. Furthermore, all countries do not begin with the same situation (the security, for example, is not organized the same way). So, different needs generate different strategies. ERTMS is sometimes not enough known and this causes some delay in the integration of the standard. For instance, Subset-026 is very complex and we hardly can find the right competences.
ERTMS Solutions has developed a unique way of helping its customers training their people to become experts: have a look at our ERTMS Academy page!
Another question arises: will it be possible to implement GSM-R/GPRS in big railway stations? If not, another communication standard will be needed.
Concrete problems could be, at ETCS level 1, linked to changes in the infrastructure when a TSR appears. On level 2, the TSR is simpler and this problem disappears.
ERTMS Solutions is no specialist in GSM-R, but has developed partnerships which can help RIMs solving this kind of issue: feel free to ask for more information!
Last but not least, we received a feedback to our questions about the problems which may arise at the end of ERTMS implementation projects : test and validation is of paramount importance and, most of the time, Rail Infrastructure Managers don’t have enough means to control the quality of the work done. Very important loss of time and money can be observed when you know how many nights are needed to make all the on-site tests: mistakes and lack of evidence are a real challenges, which are frequently underestimated. Although all RIMs know important this aspect of ERTMS projects is!
ERTMS Solutions offers a tailor made solution which solves this kind of problem faced by Rail Infrastructure Managers: the ERTMSCamCorder. Check our ERTMSCamCorder web page to know more about it!