CZ/SK verze

ETCS Stress Tests Yield Promising Results: Setting the Direction for Future Railway Safety in the Czech Republic

ETCS Stress Tests Yield Promising Results: Setting the Direction for Future Railway Safety in the Czech Republic
photo: Správa železnic / Public domain/ETCS
22 / 01 / 2024

Participants in last week's ETCS working group meeting in the Czech Republic reviewed the progress made so far in implementing the system and set the next steps.

Since the first meeting of the group in October last year, intensive cooperation between all the stakeholders involved has started and concrete steps have been taken to improve the functionality of the ETCS system.

The objectives set by the working group last autumn have been met. The portal of the Railway Administration has been made available, direct communication with vehicle manufacturers and technology suppliers has been set up, regular exchange of data from the evaluation of system failures is taking place and the first ETCS stress test simulating exclusive operation outside "Uničovka" on the line Staré Město u Uherského Hradiště - Břeclav has been carried out.

"All members of the group work with non-standard deployment and the stress test was the result of excellent cooperation across the sector. I would like to thank everyone again," says Radek Šafránek, Director of the Technical Section of the Czech Railway Office.

"The ETCS system provided us with proof of its importance at the beginning of the year when it prevented a train from colliding with a shunting yard in Břeclav when passing a signal prohibiting movement. A train travelling under ETCS control was struck by a shunting unit that had passed a stop signal. The ETCS system reacted immediately and stopped the train before the general stop was applied," adds Jiří Kolář, Director of the Czech Railway Office.

Správa železnic / Public domain

The cooperating rail carriers welcome the implementation of the stress tests in which they want to participate. A second stress test is scheduled for the end of March on a different corridor line. Further steps, mainly of a technical and organizational nature, will take place over the next two months. The plan is to test a modification of the system configuration to allow more tolerance for restoring the broken link between the line and the mobile part. The analysis of system outages will be supplemented with complete data and will aim to automate reporting.

Thanks to partial modifications on the vehicles and the transmission network, the number of communication failures between the track-side and the on-board part of the ETCS on the line Olomouc - Uničov has decreased significantly. On some RegioPanters, which move under the supervision of ETCS, the position of antennas was adjusted on a trial basis. Škoda Transportation will now test the new antenna positioning on other units based on a test operation permit from the Railway Authority. The results so far show that the shifting of the antennas, combined with signal boosting on the transmission network, has helped. Further adjustments to the transmission network's configuration are now being addressed, and additional transmitters will be installed at problematic locations.

The aim of the planned stress test, which took place this weekend on the line Staré Město - Břeclav, was intensive diagnostics of another line section, which at that moment simulated "exclusive operation". For two nights, approximately two dozen trains of various types traversed the line in both directions. Here too, there were several emergency stops for trains. In four cases, the system correctly assessed that it should stop. So the ETCS worked as it should. In two cases, this was due to incorrect operation of the train by the driver, and in the other two cases due to a technical cause on other systems. In 5 cases the emergency stop was due to a technical cause in the ETCS system. A detailed evaluation is currently underway and will be used to set the next steps.

The ETCS system for the Czech Republic means the introduction of a full-fledged train protection system. As the experience from neighboring countries and the current operation in the Czech Republic shows, it is necessary to harmonize all components into a functional whole for its smooth functioning. This is what the testing, work of working groups, and tuning of the whole system into an optimal form are for.


Source: Czech Railway Office