Stadler’s automatic train protection system deployed in latest BLS fleet

Posted: 27 November 2018 | | No comments yet

For the first time in Switzerland, a large series of multiple units will be equipped with an ETCS automatic train protection system.


The ETCS automatic train protection system GUARDIA, developed by Stadler and joint venture AngelStar, is being deployed in the new FLIRT trains for the Swiss railway company BLS.

This is the first time the technology has been fitted in a larger series of multiple units in Switzerland.

GUARDIA incorporates both hardware and software installed in the train. It allows the driver to visualise the train’s position, speed and additional data, which is transmitted to the control centre. Data such as track warrants can be collected at the same time.

“We are delighted to be able to equip BLS trains with our automatic train protection system. To ensure the company’s independence, it is important for Stadler to be able to offer its own signalling solutions. This is also a significant step forwards into the digital future for Stadler,” commented Alexandre Grêt, Head of Signalling, at Stadler.

ETCS aims to allow harmonisation on all lines throughout Europe. As part of the joint venture with Mermec, a company which specialises in train protection, Stadler’s own ETCS on-board system, the high-performance GUARDIA solution, is currently undergoing field tests and has started the approval process in Switzerland. It will be introduced simultaneously in several European countries.

“We welcome this competition in the field of automatic train protection systems and are convinced that GUARDIA will prove to be an innovative, reliable and flexible automatic train protection system for our BLS FLIRT trains. It will keep our annual system operating costs low and vehicle availability high. Alongside the security aspect, it will also be of direct benefit to our customers,” said Stefan Maurer, Project Manager at BLS.

The FLIRT trains for BLS will be fitted with the ETCS level-2 system which uses digital communication technology (GSM-R) to follow train movements in the Radio Block Centre (RBC) and meets the highest security standards thanks to tried and tested SIL-4 signalling hardware. The on-board European Vital Computer (EVC) monitors data exchange and ensures compliance with the maximum permitted speed. All trains regularly transmit their precise position and direction of travel to the RBC. Track warrants, speed limits and track data are constantly communicated to the train.

In January 2018, BLS placed an order for 52 latest-generation FLIRT trains, with an option for 90 additional vehicles. The comprehensive approval tests will start in mid-2019 and the trains will be put into operation gradually between 2021 and 2025.