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30 March 2015

Mott MacDonald researches potential for ERTMS Limited Supervision in the UK

Mott MacDonald has completed the first stage of technical research into the potential opportunities for implementing the new Limited Supervision functionality of the European Train Control System (ETCS) in the United Kingdom. The deployment is part of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) which is currently being rolled out across Europe to standardise and simplify cross-border railway travel between European Union member states.

There are currently over 20 different forms of train protection and signalling systems used throughout Europe. The aim of ERTMS is to standardise these into a single system providing interoperable train operation across all member states, resulting in increased international freight and passenger transport services.

In the UK there are plans to implement the ETCS across the entire railway network. Working on behalf of RSSB, Mott MacDonald investigated existing installations of the new Limited Supervision functionality on systems in Switzerland. A detailed review of UK rail stakeholders including RSSB, Network Rail and various passenger and freight train operators was undertaken to determine the requirements and identify potential benefits of utilising Limited Supervision in the UK. The consultancy also provided high-level concept designs for potential UK application.

Robert Gray, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “We’ve investigated new and innovative ways of utilising existing and future technology to achieve a more efficient operation of the railway. Limited Supervision could be utilised as part of the national ETCS strategy to simplify deployment or as a more cost-effective alternative to radio token systems.”

Through RSSB, the rail industry will take these research findings into consideration to reflect on the potential role of Limited Supervision.

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