Meeting the challenges of a more standardised railway
It has been 25 years since considerations at a European level were initiated by several organisations (the EU, the railways under the umbrella of the UIC and the signalling and telecom industries) to meet the challenges of having a more standardised railway, but additional developments are still required to achieve an economical, unified, interoperable and flexible railway.
Railway design and operation was, at that time, very national-orientated – many countries had their ways of operating and their own national suppliers to deliver their rail systems. How standardised should railways be, and in what ways this standardisation should be implemented, were major questions at the time. ERTMS was the umbrella for the GSM-R, ETCS and the management part of sub-systems.
The UIC initially formed two big projects in 1991 – one for signalling and one for telecommunications. For signalling it was the ETCS project, which I was selected as the Project Manager for. The ETCS project team was set up with highly qualified specialists and a high level UIC steering group was also established to ensure a high level of commitment at all national railways. Our main focuses in the beginning were: