ESA title

SBS RailS Phase 2.1

  • STATUSOngoing
  • THEMATIC AREATransport & Logistics, Safety & Security

Objectives of the service

The ERTMS platform will be evolving and satellite technologies are one of the Game Changer innovations on the roadmap agreed by the railways stake-holders in the ERTMS MoU signed on September 2016. The benefits of Satellite applications are a reduction of the ERTMS ownership costs that in turns means a lesser reliance on dedicated railways infrastructures, such as fixed balises and GSM-R telecom network that today are part of the ERTMS solution. The challenge is a seamless adoption of the satellite applications without impacting on the highest safety  levels guaranteed by the ERTMS and recognized world-wide thanks to a coordinated and standardized certification process. Satellite positioning and multi-bearer satcom services are the innovative breakthroughs to be incorporated on a full-scale ERTMS L2 baseline 3 system agreed between RFI and the Italian Railways Safety Agency  (ANSF) in coordination with the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA). The new satellite navigation and telecom service demonstrators  are the front-runner of  cost effective operational services for the ERTMS platform and able to contribute to the modernization of the local and regional lines. 

Users and their needs

The targeted users are Railways Infrastructure Managers and  Railways Undertakers worldwide which will be selecting the ERTMS standard.

The deployment of the ERTMS is a commitment in Europe for international TEN-T corridors, mainly for interoperability across the countries, but also because ERTMS present another advantages like increased capacity, higher speeds, higher reliability, etc.

Infrastructure Managers are planning huge investments to modernize local and regional lines which are old and in some cases being still manually operated there is a risk to be dismantled. To renew low traffic lines, the implementation of ERTMS is also requested (considering EU countries have in plan to dismiss their national signalling systems), but the actual costs of the ERTMS are excessive. The application of Satellite Based ERTMS system and Satellite telecommunications are the answer. These systems will allow to reduce cost of implementation (dramatically reduction if it is considered that GSM-R will be eliminated) and operation and maintenance.

ERTMS is  also widely exported abroad EU, like in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Australia, becoming a de-facto world standard  representing about 50% of the export for the European industries.

Service/ system concept

The application consists of putting into operation an ERTMS system by using satellite navigation with proper localization device systems and IP-based public telecom (including SATCOM) services instead of the GSM-R. These functionalities are enabled by “services” that are external to the ERTMS, reducing the need to build dedicated infrastructures. Meaning this technology presents advantages in terms of cost reduction in CAPEX and OPEX for the implementation of ERTMS.

The high level reference architecture adopted for the demonstrator represents functional modules in charge of implementing the GNSS train positioning (orange elements) and the IP-based multi-bearer RBC/EVC data exchange (blue elements).

Space Added Value

The objective of a satellite-based ERTMS system is to reduce the total cost of ownership of the system to the Infrastructure Manager in order to be economically sustainable for the local and regional lines, also improving the lines capacity by reducing trains headway. Capital expenditure costs are reduced, thanks to the satellite-based ERTMS solution based on satellite navigation and on public telecom network including satcom, due to saving in procuring and installing physical balises and also in equipping dedicated GSM-R infrastructure. Moreover, cost reductions will be achieved on the operational and maintenance of the whole ERTMS system in operation.

Satellite-based ERTMS can allow savings up to 20% in comparison to ERTMS traditional solution and even more than 25% if compared with national signalling systems.

These percentages of savings do not include benefits that this solution can allow coming from the increase of the availability of the on-board equipment, saving of rolling stock energy and capacity increase.

Current Status

SBS RailS Phase 2.1 started in April 2018. The activities related to user and system requirements definition and to the  Pinerolo-Sangone system architecture performed from Ansaldo STS and RFI has been finalized, as well as the related preliminary hazard analysis.

Baseline Design Review milestone has been successfully achieved in November.

Prime Contractor(s)

Status Date

Updated: 19 December 2018