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Survey of Safety approvals for the first ERTMS implementations

In the year 2006 the ERA published a call for tenderfor the performance of a study about the safety approvals of the first implementations of ERTMS. All information about this call for tender (ERA/2006/ERTMS/OP/01) can be found in the “Procurement” area of this web-site.

The study has been carried out in the first half of 2007; ERA is reviewing the results, together with the working parties.


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Some ERTMS projects are now at a very advanced stage of deployment, while others are already in operational service.

In every project, the approval of ERTMS implementation has been managed by the relevant national safety authority, ensuring compliance with the safety objective for the service. This has mainly been done by reference to the level of safety of existing (non ERTMS) signalling and train protection systems.

The process of safety approval has been supported by the ERTMS specifications, establishing a harmonised safety target for a “top hazard” associated to the supervision functions of ERTMS/ETCS and defining tolerable hazard rates (THR) for ETCS equipment, with the aim of achieving crossacceptance.

The results obtained so far are positive and encouraging; nevertheless, some aspects still exist that could create obstacles for future international connections of the national ERTMS networks.
Especially, it can not be excluded that some national solutions adopted to achieve safety have the undesirable effect of jeopardising interoperability: this has been recognised as an open point by the experts of the railway sector.

The ERA decided therefore to perform a survey of the ERTMS implementations already in service or at an advanced stage of development, to define the severity of this open point and to provide information necessary for the planning of activities finalised to its solution.

The contract has been awarded to a consortium of KEMA RTC, RINA SpA and Cetren with Arsenal Research, Attica Advies and EBC as subcontractors.

The consortium analysed a number of the ERTMS implementations in the following countries:

  • Italy
  • Austria
  • Spain
  • The Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • France
  • Germany

including cross border projects, like Basis Brenner Tunnel, Vienna-Budapest, Figueras-Perpignan.

The results of the survey consist of three reports:

Please check also the Errata corrige, for the correction of some inaccuracies that have been detected in the above mentioned reports.