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Feasibility Study for the formal specification of ETCS functions

The ETCS system is now defined in a set of specifications that are referenced in the Technical Specifications for Interoperability for the Control-command and Signalling sub-system.

The specifications have required a “consolidation phase”, with different corrections and improvements. Today the implementation of ETCS is in progress, however the consolidation phase cannot be considered fully completed, because of:

  • The complexity of ETCS, that makes unavoidable the need of clarifications and corrections,
  • The progressive widening of the application of ETCS to networks with different characteristics, with consequent demand for additional functionality.

It must also be noted that the achievement of interoperability requires a common understanding of the specifications by all involved parties (the railways companies, ordering and installing products, and the suppliers, designing and manufacturing them): in other words, a statement in the specifications, which could be interpreted in different ways, is a source of possible problems.

The ERA has therefore decided to investigate the possibility of developing a system (hardware and software tools) which supports the transparent management of ETCS specifications, allowing:

  • identification and correction of errors and ambiguities (e.g., statements possibly leading to prejudice for the efficacy and the safety of operation),
  • early verification of modifications and functional extensions.

The study was tendered in 2007 (ERA/2007/ERTMS/OP/01 - all information about this call for tender can be found in the “Procurement” area of this web-site) and was awarded to RINA SpA with Fondazione Bruno Kessler and Dr. Graband and Partner GmbH as subcontractors.

The study has given positive results about the feasibility and a tool has been prepared; it is the intention of the ERA to put such tool at disposal also of the experts of the railway sector.

Additional information can be found via http://nusmv.fbk.eu/

Training on the use of the tool has been carried out in October and November 2008.

The following presentations have been given in a two days theoretical introduction:

The theoretical training has been followed by three one week hands-on sessions supported by the following presentations:

The training has been attended by about 25 experts from railway companies and suppliers of signalling systems.