Dutch Railway’s ViRM fleet to be retrofit with ETCS technology

176 ViRM double deck rail vehicles will be retrofitted with the latest ETCS onboard technology for Dutch Railways.

An electric train in the summer

Credit: Siemens Mobility

Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract by NS Group N.V, the Dutch Railways, to retrofit 176 ViRM trains with the latest European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 technology. With the ETCS Level 2 upgrade, the fleet will be able to operate with a greater degree of efficiency for the remainder of its lifetime, while also meeting the latest European standards for rail safety interoperability. Siemens Mobility will provide the ETCS onboard unit equipment and installation support, as well as seven years of maintenance services for the system. The retrofitted vehicles will be delivered in the period 2023–2027.

“All over Europe, rail operators are looking for new solutions to increase capacity and reduce energy consumption as well as infrastructure costs,” Andre Rodenbeck, CEO of Rail Infrastructure at Siemens Mobility, said. “Our sophisticated ETCS onboard technology will help Dutch Railways to achieve their modernisation and performance goals. This important project is another significant step in transforming the more than 20 different national railway control and safety systems currently being used in Europe, towards a harmonised and interoperable system that safely paves the way for cross border rail transportation.”

This is the first major contract award of rolling stock ETCS upgrade in the Netherlands and is part of a comprehensive Dutch programme to retrofit its existing rolling stock fleet with the latest train control technology. NS and Siemens Mobility view this initial project award as a long-term and collaborative partnership, which will ensure a smooth transition from the existing train control system to ETCS. The new system will also simplify future upgrades to the next ETCS versions according to TSI standards (Technical Specifications for Interoperability).

With its decision to opt for ETCS, Europe has paved the way for futureproof, cross-border rail traffic. Promoted by political leaders and driven by railway operators and leading providers such as Siemens, a network of ETCS-equipped lines is being created within Europe and beyond. In parallel to new construction projects, many railway companies are refitting their railway vehicles and fleets with ETCS onboard solutions. As one of the ETCS pioneers, Siemens Mobility has already implemented retrofit projects in several countries, including Switzerland, Great Britain, Spain, and Belgium.

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