Case Study

Denmark's ERTMS Programme - Accredited Assurance Roles

Denmark's ERTMS Programme - Accredited Assurance Roles
Published: 13 May 2020 Client name: Banedanmark Service provided: Notified Body and Independent Safety Assessment

Assurance roles for migration to ERTMS and CBTC systems

The Danish resignalling programme is the largest of its kind that Europe has ever seen.

The introduction of ERTMS across the national network will see the removal of all lineside equipment, with train movements managed by central control centres communicating directly with the train and its driver via in-cab equipment.

When completed, Denmark will become the first Member State to adopt ERTMS on a national scale.

Almost half of the country’s existing signalling technology is over 50 years old, with some assets dating back to the First World War. The ageing systems are estimated to cause around half of all delays.

The migration will allow higher speeds, shorter headways, improved safety and significantly reduced signalling-related delays. It will also ensure full interoperability in line with European standards.

A parallel project has seen the signalling system on the S-Bane commuter network around Copenhagen replaced with Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), a technology optimised for the stop-start nature of urban metro systems.

Accredited assurance roles

On behalf of Banedanmark, the national infrastructure manager,  Ricardo Certification* is performing various assurance roles during the migration to ERTMS and CBTC systems, including Assessment Body and Notified Body services, as well as acting as the Independent Safety Assessors.

This means our experts are overseeing the overall safety assessment for the entire Fjernbane (the mainline) and S-bane programmes. For Fjernbane we are also overseeing the compliance assessment against the Control Command and Signalling (CCS) Technical Specifications for Interoperability specifications (TSI).

*Ricardo Certification comprises a set of companies within the Ricardo group that perform independent assurance and testing services, including Notified Body, Designated Body and Independent Safety Assessments. For more information see Ricardo Certification.

Denmark Resignalling Breaker

Key challenges

Novel and complex change

One of the main complications is that this is not a ‘greenfield’ ERTMS installation. It is taking place on a network with many operational interfaces to legacy systems and traffic that tends to be local services rather than intercity. It is an environment that previous ERTMS installations around the world have not had to address.

Multiple interfaces

The resignalling work must also progress alongside Denmark's plans to electrify its mainline routes and the procurement of new electric rolling stock. The multiple interfaces affected when migrating from diesel to electric vehicles, as well as to new a signalling system, has only added to the complexity.

Upholding safety

With engineering and testing work usually restricted to when commercial operations are closed, there are many daily system changeovers of safety critical assets such as point machines and level crossings, with ERTMS used during the night and a switch back to the legacy system in the daytime.

Continuity and flexibility

Over the course of both programmes, our work is addressing a range of technical aspects including onboard fitment, trackside fitment, programme level and railway activities. This also included establishing the operating rules to control the European Train Control System fitted railway (or in the case of S-Bane the rules adapted for the new CBTC system).

To support such a multi-discipline programme that will eventually span two decades our approach has focused on providing continuity in both methodology and personnel.

As such, upon our appointment to the programme in 2010 we established a new Ricardo office in Copenhagen with a mix of local and international experts. This ensured that our client would have access to all the technical knowledge that would be required at each decision point. 

Through our Copenhagen office, we will be equipped to absorb the delays that may be expected in such a complex project yet react swiftly when work regains momentum, so that the approvals process does not create a bottleneck.

Ongoing progress

Two ‘Early Deployment’ lines entered into service in 2019, followed in 2020 by the first Roll Out line for the western region. 

Both the resignalling and electrification works are expected to be complete by 2028-2030, leaving Denmark with a railway to rival any new build.

Meanwhile our Danish office has continued to grow as an established provider of Independent Assurance Services in Denmark, with other projects in our portfolio including Independent Safety Assessment roles for the construction of the Aarhus and Odense urban tram networks.

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Ricardo Certification performs independent accredited assurance and testing for the rail sectors. Find out more about our services and previous projects. 

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