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Swiss Railways Embrace Next-Gen Train Control and Communication Systems

Swiss Railways Embrace Next-Gen Train Control and Communication Systems
photo: Halász István / Wikimedia Commons/Swiss Railways Embrace Next-Gen Train Control and Communication Systems
14 / 11 / 2023

Switzerland's Federal Office of Transport (FOT) has unveiled a strategic update for the nationwide deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS).

The revised strategy pivots towards the integration of ETCS Level 2 cab-signaling across the standard gauge network and the transition to the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS). Key stakeholders, including the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), are tasked to outline their modernization plans by 2025, with SBB bearing the financial responsibility for upgrades pertinent to freight and long-distance trains.

The Swiss network currently operates under ETCS Level 1 Limited Supervision, which necessitates that train drivers monitor trackside signals. The shift to ETCS Level 2's in-cab signaling, already operational on several main axes, is expected to enhance speed and efficiency. This advanced system presents critical information directly within the driver's cab, enabling a continuous exchange between train and track that facilitates higher permissible speeds and reinforces safety by monitoring train movements in real time.

With the impending obsolescence of the two-decade-old GSM-R system, Switzerland is laying the groundwork for a seamless migration to the cutting-edge FRMCS. This move anticipates the gradual phase-out of GSM-R technology and preempts the risk of obsolescence. The FRMCS promises not only to carry the baton from its predecessor but also to drive forward the digital transformation of the railways by managing the ever-increasing flow of data, setting a new standard for railway communication technology.