European Rail Traffic Management System

ERTMS ( European Rail Traffic Management System) is the future system for management and control of the railway traffic on the routes of the Trans-European Networks (TEN ).


The International Union of Railways (UIC ) and the European Rail Research Institute ( ERRI ) began in the mid 1980s with studies in order to develop a coherent pan-European business management concept for railways under the title ERTMS. The development of ERTMS is fueled by the UNIFE ( Union des Industries Ferroviaires Européennes, Association of European Railway Industries ). The main concern of ERTMS is to promote the interoperability of Zugverkehres in Europe.

The EU adopted in 1996 and 2001 guidelines according to which the equipment are prescribed with ERTMS on high speed lines and conventional lines. Since July 2005, Karel Vinck is the competent EU ERTMS coordinator.

The unified guidelines for the functional specification were approved at a ceremony on 25 April 2000 in Madrid. In the fall of 2000, Member States voted in favor, to publish this specification as a decision of the European Commission to create a temporary legal and planning security. Building on this, trials of the six member railways of the ERTMS Users Group follow.

On 17 March 2005, representatives of the European Commission, the railways and the railway industry in Brussels a letter of intent to ERTMS. Accordingly, the system should be introduced within ten to twelve years on a part of the trans -European network. From 4th to 6th April 2006, a conference attended by about 700 people for the introduction of ERTMS took place in Budapest.


ERTMS consists of two technical components: ETCS and GSM -R. Add to this the traffic management level ETML.

  • ETCS realized within the ERTMS along with the interlocking functions of the command. It provides, inter alia, ensure that a train can not drive too fast and needs to stop the occupied path if necessary.
  • GSM-R is a mobile radio system for voice and data communication between the vehicles, mobile devices and fixed devices. GSM -R differs from conventional mobile networks by some railway-specific extensions that relate primarily to safety. GSM -R is also used as a support network for ETCS Level 2 and 3
  • ETML is the pan-European management of train paths. ETML essentially defined software interfaces. ETML is still in a very early stage of development. A first prototype will come to the ERTMS Corridor Rotterdam -Genoa used.

The technical specification of ERTMS is taken (International Union of chemins de fer ) of UNISIG ( Union Industry of Signalling) and UIC.


  • Passenger information in the cars
  • Onboard ticket purchase
  • Transmission reservation data
  • Cargo tracking
  • Zugfertigstellungsmeldung
  • Cab signaling
  • Transmission of Buchfahrplan data to the driver
  • Transmission of Lokstördaten

Introduction barriers

The main problems of interoperability of the railways in the EU represent the existence of 18 different control and safety systems, and the need to harmonize the operational execution of the railways.

North America

In the U.S., the 2005 competitive Interoperable Communications Based Signaling Program of the Association of American Railroads was launched, which will replace the analogue train on the frequencies of the American Railway Engineering and Maintenance -of- Way Association by a digital version. The TETRA -like APCO P25 radio system by the U.S. authorities was thereby adapted for use in the rail sector and is used in freight transport since 2009. The electric cab signaling system is still based on regional systems, which are mostly compatible with the Pulse Code Cab Signaling of the Pennsylvania Railroad ( and the national coal transportation ), which was developed in the 1920s and is integrated into the regional command systems. (Variants of PCCS the PRR include the itialienische RS4 Codici / BACC, which is run in ERTMS as a class B system ).

Among the regional train protection systems in North America, but are now finding variants based on eurobalises, such as Amtrak, the Acses ( "Advanced Civil Speed ​​Enforcement System" ) for the high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor (tested from 2000 to 2002 between New Haven and Boston, subsequently to Washington extended ). The U.S. Congress has demanded in 2008 that by 2015, a unified Positive Train Control system is introduced ( Rail Safety Improvement Act, published on 16 October 2008). The AAR mentioned explicitly Amtrak system. There was then still discussions since the decision an " unfunded mandates " (that is no financial support from the federal budget includes ), but the railway authority ( Federal Railroad Administration ) has clearly emphasized the positive cost -benefit ratio on 12 January 2010 the railway companies committed to implementing.