Alstom receives approval for both the latest iteration of ETCS and its data-fusion positioning system

Alstom has received approval for its ETCS 'Atlas' system to the latest Baseline 3 Release 2 specification.

Alstom has received full certification of its European Train Control System (ETCS) to the latest specification – Baseline 3 Release 2 – which it plans to roll out in Norway.

In addition, it has also been certified, by leading railway certification and testing organisation Belgorail, to implement its world-first data fusion algorithms that use both satellite navigation and inertial movement to accurately and safely measure the location and speed of trains.

ETCS was created to enable European cross-border rail traffic through the use of a standardised, pan-European signalling system. Its use also allows train operators to safely increase speed, reliability, and capacity. ETCS includes continuous radio-based automatic train protection, thus optimising higher-speed operation and supporting network interoperability, while reducing maintenance costs for the operator.

The latest standard includes higher radio capacity and other improvements requested by various railway operators.

Alstom’s new odometry system, which is currently being implemented in Norway, is based on data fusion and is applicable to all types of trains and all environments, including the harshest weather conditions.

Alstom’s use of data fusion technology keeps all of the positioning and speed sensors inside the train and away from harsh weather conditions.

Testing of the first locomotive equipped with the new solution have just begun and, by 2026, 450 trains will be equipped with the new standard and in commercial service across Norway.

Rob Whyte, Alstom.

Rob Whyte, managing director of Alstom Nordics, said: “In a decisive move towards digitalisation in rail, Norway has chosen to equip the whole country with the latest version of the European interoperability standard, demonstrating the country’s leading strategy for a greener future.

“We are immensely proud to be participating in this, and even more so with a world-first technology for which we have just obtained certification.”

Data fusion is the process of aggregating multiple data sources to produce more consistent, accurate and useful information than that provided by any individual data source. Alstom’s use of data fusion removes the need for the external radar components for positioning and speed measurement that are used today. Instead, using hybrid technology, the equipment is installed completely within the train and so remains unaffected by weather conditions. The algorithms used manage to maintain their precision even in covered areas such as tunnels.

Trains controlled by Alstom’s Atlas ETCS technology have now covered over 250 million kilometres across 30 countries, including Deutsche Bahn’s high-speed ICE3 fleet, which was recently equipped in Germany.

In total, Alstom has been contracted to equip 9,000 trains with Atlas onboard solutions, of which 1,100 vehicles will be equipped with the latest Baseline 3 Release 2 solution.

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