On behalf of the rail operator Thalys International, Ricardo Certification has completed a test programme with the train control system ERTMS Level 2 Baseline 3 for the Dutch section of the route. The Thalys high-speed trains were already equipped with ERTMS between 2005 and 2009 to use the HSL South between the Netherlands and Belgium, but with an older Baseline. The Thalys trains need to be upgraded to the newer version for when the the track will eventually be equipped with ERTMS Baseline 3.
The ERTMS specification has been amended over the years via the so-called Baselines 1, 2 and 3 with sub-standards. With the upgrade to Baseline 3, the Thalys high-speed trains now have a more future-proof version, which corresponds to the new ERTMS version.
“All over Europe, ERTMS installations on the rails and in trains are moving to new versions”, explains ERTMS expert Peter Zijdemans. “The Netherlands has opted for Baseline 3 release 2 for the national ERTMS roll-out. The advantage of release 2 is that more functionalities are added, and that it is suitable for the successor to GSM-R. Thalys International anticipates having to deal with this at the Kijfhoek – Roosendaal – Belgian border in 2026, because the equipment has to be ahead of the infrastructure.”
Ricardo Certification, together with Thalys International, started the test programme in January. It ran until March this year. Prior to the test programme, Ricardo Certification draws up a scenario, in which all the different tests that must be taken are described step by step.
Zijdemans looks back positively on the test programme. “The logistics were a puzzle, but it turned out well. We were able to perform everything we had to test, taking into account the corona measures. We are proud that we have succeeded in this, but we hope that the process will become easier.”
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