"Europe has the most complex situation in regard to railway systems. From the wide variety which has been developed by each individual country over the last 150 years, it is now important that interoperability is achieved. In this implementation stage many problems are likely to arise that have to be solved."
Today SmartRail World speaks to Hajo Hajonides, Principal Consultant Safety & Risk Management at Lloyd's Register Rail Europe. Lloyd’s Register Rail is part of the Lloyd’s Register Group and provides a range of services to help manage the safety, functional and business performance of new and existing rail systems and projects. They specialise in rail systems integration and safety assurance founded on core rail skills in all of the key rail disciplines, including rolling stock, train control & signalling (e.g. ERTMS), telecommunications and operations. There's plenty we could talk about with Hajo Hajonides but today we focus on signalling and in particular ERTMS.
Luke Upton (LU): Lloyd‘s Register has a long and proud history of involvement with the transportation industry dating back over 250 years, but can you tell us a little more about your work with rail and in particular ERTMS?
Hajo Hajonides (HH): Our experts work with rail operators and infrastructure managers around the world to help them ensure that their assets operate safely and efficiently. We provide a wide range of technical advice across all key disciplines. The expert advice services we offer cover aspects that concern the full life cycle of rail assets from specification, through design and building till commissioning and operation. Complex safety critical projects such as signalling systems is one of our specialties.
With extensive experience across infrastructure, rolling stock and their interfaces, we possess the skills and knowledge to help clients develop and implement appropriate control and protection systems. We advise on migration strategies from national legacy systems to ERTMS and CBTC; we conduct studies to determine which ATP configuration is the most suitable for implementation and we guide clients through feasibility analyses, procurement, tender preparation and contracting.
In addition to helping clients identify and implement signalling and control systems, we provide support to ensure continued levels of safety performance throughout their operation. Sophisticated software tools and measurement systems, for example, enable us to support routine maintenance and performance improvements.
We offer a full range of services for the implementation of automatic train protection systems in various organisations including:
- Optimising multi annual plans on signalling at company as well as at national level.
- Development and implementation of signalling and operating principles
- Business planning support and review
- Feasibility studies and recommended options
- Signalling specification preparation
- Application engineering for novel systems and equipment
- Installation engineering and supervision of the installation process
- Project engineering support to re-signalling schemes
- Asset management systems and strategies (e.g. Pas55/ISO55000)
- Ensuring that the national safety authorities initiate rolling stock authorisation
- Trainings on methods and knowledge, for (e.g.) ETCS principles, ATP maintenance and safety assessment.
LU: Thanks, each year the role of ERTMS grows across Europe, what major developments are ahead in the coming year?
HH: ERTMS is a novel product where many developments are still going on. The development of Baseline 3 has taken longer than foreseen and in the field of uniform testing processes, steps have to be made. It is necessary for ERTMS to become an important issue in Europe and that stability of the product becomes a fact. Technical issues are amongst other: Baseline 3 - development, improvement of Level 2 applications in larger stations and crowded railway junctions, improvement of braking curve models, GSMR solutions for the longer term, standardisation of ERTMS parts and their interfaces, cyber security and train integrity.
Since on-board equipment is largely standardised, an important issue that remains is interoperability of the European infrastructure and it’s control systems. Most infrastructure in Europe is compliant to national or even local specifications and regulations. The transformation of all infrastructure in Europe to TSI-compliant infrastructure is the next step. Since this is a huge effort plans have to be further developed in regard to implementation and time/cost frames.
LU: And with ERTMS is now being deployed outside Europe, how important can the system be in strengthening European leadership in the global rail industry?
HH: Europe has the most complex situation in regard to railway systems. From the wide variety which has been developed by each individual country over the last 150 years, it is now important that interoperability is achieved. In this implementation stage many problems are likely to arise that have to be solved. In doing so a very deep understanding of the ERTMS systems will emerge. Europe is therefore an ideal testing and development area that can maintain its worldwide leadership on ERTMS for a long time.
Other areas in the world are implementing the ERTMS requirements and standards in “green field” applications where adaptions and creative solutions are less obvious than in Europe with its existing infrastructure.
LU: What do you think is the principle challenge facing ERTMS at the moment?
HH: The biggest challenge for ERTMS is the funding issue. Most of the (western) European countries have well performing and safe train protection systems installed. Investments in new ATP systems like ERTMS are often seen as excessively expensive, where the benefits are unclear.
For new lines or lines that need upgrading of their infrastructure systems the business cases can be positive. Implementation, however, will be slow on existing conventional lines - apart from the regulation that major improvements on legacy systems or newly built systems need to be implemented with ERTMS.
Another issue that needs to be solved is the standardisation of the interfaces between the various systems and subsystems. This would lead to increased competition and lower investment, operation and maintenance costs.
LU: And finally, just to finish off today, aside from ERTMS developments, what most excites you about the future of rail industry?
HH: The world is moving toward increasing urbanisation. Individual transportation is reaching its maximum congestion level. To keep ever growing cities or conglomerates reachable it is vital that fast, comfortable, affordable and efficient public transportation is available. This transportation mode has a future within cities, within regions and between cities which lie at a distance of 500 – 1000 km apart. To make this work is one of the most exiting challenges for the next 10 to 30 years.
Lloyd's Register were Exhibiting and Hajo Hajonides was speaking along with over 100 industry leaders at SmartRail Congress & Expo in February. SmartRail is the definitive European rail signalling, telecoms and technology Congress and Expo. For more on Lloyd's Register and how they can work with you click here.
**FREE VISITOR PASSES to SmartRail Expo 2015 ** available – claim your free pass to learn and develop at over 35 expert-led SmartRail Innovation Seminars and to visit the Expo featuring the the biggest names with the latest technologies and solutions in the industry by clicking here