ERTMS high speed train; ERTMS high speed train;

European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) , Wales

How do you design the railway of the future so that it guarantees better outcomes for its passengers?

An increased train capacity of 40 per cent. A 10 per cent reduction in delays. An 80 per cent reduction in the number of signals passed at danger and half the amount of lineside work. The digital railway of the future is arriving at platforms across the UK and Arup is a key part of the journey.

More trains, more passengers, more services

The digital railway of the future will enable more trains to run on the same track, more reliably, more punctually and with greater communication to all involved so that they can make better decisions in real time. This is made possible by the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS), an initiative that turns each train into a separate communications hub that connects directly to the central system. So, instead of knowing where a train is only when it passes certain signals, the central system has precise knowledge of the location, speed and size of every vehicle on the track.

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ERTMS means that the central system can instruct each train to go faster when there is a sufficient gap with the one in front, or go slower when it calculates that this is the safe thing to do.

When efficiency meets speed

At present, trains are managed within mile long sections. They slow down even if it’s safe to continue to move faster – just in case there’s a train within braking distance. Better information means trains will go faster more often, and do not need to be spaced out so much. In the future, information from the train will also be accessible directly by passengers, so that they can make better decisions about their journey.


We’re ahead of the curve

We were part of the engineering team that installed the first pilot project of ERTMS in Wales. The concept of a digital railway is gaining speed and Arup is among those leading the process to turn it into a reality across the world.