Working Document on the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System ERTMS

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        Working Document on the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management
                                     System ERTMS.

     The Commission is planning to adopt by June 2005 a Communication on the deployment of
     ERTMS/ETCS. In this framework, the principal aim of this working document is to provide a
     basis for the Interoperability Committee meeting, to be held on 22 February 2005. Member
     States are invited to provide their contributions, which will give input and will be used for
     establishing the final position of the Commission, no later than 31 March 2005

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     1.     INTRODUCTION

            Technical barriers to the interoperability of trains– i.e. their ability to run on any
            stretch of the network –has still today a negative impact on the competitiveness of
            the rail sector. Although freight wagons and most passenger carriages can technically
            circulate on the majority of the network, the same cannot be said of locomotives,
            which suffer numerous constraints, particularly with regards to signalling.

            Significant differences remain between the networks in Europe, most of which were
            built from a national perspective and which have long played on these differences to
            protect their own interests or those of their national railway industry.

            This has hampered the development of rail transport on a European scale; at the same
            time, road transport has benefited from the absence of technical barriers in its
            development. Similarly, other modes of transport have benefited to a greater extent
            from new technologies.

            Moreover, the existence of closed markets, in particular in the field of railway
            signalling, has not encouraged the development of common and consistent standards
            that are easily exportable and likely to cause a drop in equipment prices.

            For a number of years now, locomotives and traction units, designed to operate under
            different power systems, have provided some flexibility in railway services.
            However not all problems have been solved in particular with regards to railway

            This working document identifies the key issues related to the harmonization of
            railway signalling, the costs and benefits to various actors and presents the strategy
            of the Commission to achieve interoperability.


     2.1.   The importance of a harmonised signalling system in Europe

            Currently, more than twenty different signalling systems coexist in Europe. These
            systems, generally developed for one national network, vary widely in their
            performance (separation distances between trains and therefore line capacity) and
            their safety level. Furthermore, part of the network does not have signalling systems
            with a sufficient level of safety able to automatically stop trains in case of danger.

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     The main existing signalling systems today in Europe

                        Fatal accidents connected with the signalling

      A collision which occurred, in fog, near Bologna in Italy on 7 January 2005 left
      seventeen dead. This accident followed a series of collisions occurring throughout
      Europe in recent years, in particular near Albacete in Spain (nineteen people killed
      in June 2003), in Pécrot in Belgium (8 deaths in March 2001) and in London in the
      United Kingdom (31 people killed in October 1999). Even though investigations are
      still underway, it is clear that a modern signalling system which included an
      automatic train protection would have contributed to preventing such accidents.

     Today, rolling stock intending to cross borders must be equipped with multiple on-
     board systems capable of processing the data sent by the various national systems on
     the ground. Once the rolling stock design is complete, it becomes prohibitively
     expensive and sometimes impossible, to add further new systems on board. For this
     reason, in the majority of the cases, rolling stock must continue to stop at the first
     station after a border in order to change engine.
     In this context the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System
     (ERTMS), the initial development of which began in the 1990s as a result of
     Community framework research programmes, and then continued development
     funded on the trans-european transport networks, represents a considerable step
     forward in the interoperability of railway networks.

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     2.2.   The European traffic management system, the ERTMS

            This system consists today of two main elements:

            –    GSM-R is based on the GSM standard but uses different frequencies allocated
                 to the Railway and also contains specific advanced functions. It is the radio
                 system used for the transmission of information (voice and data) between on-
                 board and trackside.
            –    ETCS, the European Train Control System, a system which not only transmits
                 the permitted speed directly to the train driver but also continuously monitors
                 that the permitted speed is respected.

                                 The three "levels" of the ETCS system

            With ETCS, the track sends information to the train enabling it to continuously
            calculate its maximum permitted speed. For ETCS Level 1, on lines where there is
            trackside signalling (lights and “traffic signs” allowing the driver to know the
            permitted speed), this information can be forwarded by standard beacons
            (Eurobalises) located along the track.

            For ETCS level 2, information can also be forwarded by radio (GSM-R) and it is no
            longer necessary to retain trackside signals. This allows substantial savings in
            investment and in maintenance. The detection of the location of the trains is still
            done by trackside systems. Lastly, for ETCS level 3, the train itself sends its rear
            end location, making it possible to optimise line capacity and reduce the trackside

            For all levels, a train based computer, the Eurocab, compares the speed of the train
            with the allowed maximum speed and slows down the train automatically if

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          A third "layer" relating to the traffic management element is currently under
          development. This third layer that will fully exploit the potential offered by the
          European satellite navigation system, Galileo, is currently still in demonstration
          phase on a North-South corridor of the trans-european network (Rotterdam - Milan)
          within the framework of the Europtirail pilot project.


          Member States are currently replacing their obsolete analogue radio systems with
          GSM-R. Implementation is advancing rapidly across the whole of Europe. Indeed, as
          GSM-R is implemented using the existing public GSM standards, this provides a
          quality of service and reduced cost that could not have been achieved with national
          systems developed specifically for a national network.

          Thus, today, more than 100,000 kilometres of line are already or being equipped with
          GSM-R. The deployment of GSM-R has however to be monitored at the Community
          level in order to ensure consistency between the national deployment strategies,
          service continuity and in order to avoid "holes" in the trans-european network. The
          deployment of GSM-R remains in particular a strategic priority in the majority of the
          new Member States.

          More technically, the interoperability of the applications developed by different
          manufacturers must be carefully supervised. In particular, it must be ensured that,
          when crossing borders, trains are not affected by the “hand-over” between different
          telecommunication providers.


          The deployment of ETCS is being carried out less quickly than that of GSM-R.
          Indeed, as this system has been developed specifically for the railways it does not
          benefit from the existence of standards developed for other sectors, as with GSM-R.

          Thus the path to stable specifications has been achieved firstly from the development
          phase, which was supported by Community funding through research framework
          programmes in the middle of the 1990s, and then from further development via
          funding from the trans-european trial sites, and finally from preproduction of
          Now that specifications are stable and products are tested, ETCS seems impossible to
          circumvent when renewing signalling equipment. Nevertheless, rapid deployment of
          the system is hampered by the long lifecycle of trackside and train-borne signalling
          equipment. Obsolescence of traditional signalling systems, their high costs, in
          particular in terms of maintenance, and their incompatibility has led actors of the
          sector to recognise that ETCS is the only possible long term solutionfor rail
          signalling of the trans-european networks.

          Nevertheless, the long lifetime of trackside signalling equipment and of rolling stock
          (generally in the order of several decades), does not encourage rapid deployment
          based on the natural renewal of equipment.

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            The information related to the ETCS and GSM-R implementation plans, as
            transmitted by the Member States to the Commission -even if it requires updating
            due to recent implementations - shows clearly that “gaps” remain in the network,
            particularly for ETCS, and that a community action is necessary in order to avoid
            uncoordinated deployment of ETCS in the European Union.

            If Member State deployment plans remain unchanged, important trans-european
            network links will still not be equipped by ETCS, even by 2020. Further, new rolling
            stock would still need to be fitted with old national systems, in addition to the ETCS.

                     The cost of multiplying on board systems: the case of the Thalys

             The PBKA trainset of the Thalys high-speed train, which delivers the important
             Paris-Brussels-Cologne connection and Amsterdam, must be compatible with four
             different traction systems (power) and seven existing national signalling systems.
             The additional cost due to these different systems is estimated at 60% of the total
             cost of each trainset.

     4.1.   The obstacles to the rapid deployment of the ETCS

            Without a proactive deployment strategy, trackside and onboard equipment would
            only be fitted with ETCS during signalling renewals. In practice, ETCS deployment
            requires the installation of an ETCS "module" on board locomotives and also the
            installation of trackside equipment, enabling ETCS data to be sent to the train such
            that it is able to permanently supervise its maximum permitted speed.

            As it is impossible to both install ETCS on board equipment on all trains
            simultaneously and instantaneously migrate from the old trackside signalling system
            to ETCS, the coexistence of at least one “legacy” system and ETCS on board and/or
            on trackside is often inevitable.
            The existing national systems thus constitute an important barrier to the development
            of ETCS. Indeed, it is natural that a large number of trains will be operating on an
            existing line planned for renewal or upgrade. Limiting access on the line to only
            trains fitted with ETCS will be considered restrictive and economically unacceptable.
            Moreover, in order to circulate on the remaining part of the network, trains must
            regardless be fitted with the relevant “legacy” system.

            Thus, in the case of upgrade to an existing line, if the analysis considers only an
            isolated line, and does not take the benefits of interoperability and network effect
            into account, may not necessarily favour the fitment of ETCS. In any event, the
            existing trackside system must also be maintained for an undefined transition period.

            For this reason, in a number of cases, even when a line has to be completely
            upgraded, a short-term analysis will not necessarily impel the infrastructure manager
            or the railways undertakings to implement ETCS.

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            However, if the new European signalling is not taken into account at the time of the
            construction of the line or at the time of major modernisation work, the later
            installation of this new European signalling will become much more difficult as it
            will have to be carried out on a line already in operation. The additional cost will be
            case specific but can reach 80% of the installation cost of a new line.

            Similarly, on board the train, until a substantial part of the network is equipped with
            ETCS, it can sometimes be considered by the railway undertakings as an additional
            system which is not absolutely necessary for immediate operation as the majority of
            lines will have, for a transition period, to continue being equipped with one or more
            traditional systems. However, if ETCS installation is not incorporated during the
            design of the train, the post installation cost will be much higher (approximately 3
            times higher).
     4.2.   The main benefits of the ETCS

            The ETCS system is an element in a strategy aiming to revitalise the rail sector.
            ETCS will facilitate in particular the development of the international rail traffic,
            both for goods and passengers by contributing to enabling rolling stock to cross
            borders. What is at stake, particularly in terms of external cost reduction such as
            pollution, noise, safety or congestion, is colossal. Any element contributing to better
            equalise the balance between transport modes makes such cost reductions possible.
            Even if it is difficult to make an overall analyse, insofar as there are various possible
            implementation strategies for ETCS trackside and that each existing system has
            specific costs and performances, it is generally recognised that ETCS trackside costs
            are significantly lower. Moreover, as conventional systems age and become obsolete,
            their maintenance costs rapidly increase.

            On board the trains, the cost of the ETCS is equivalent to that of the existing
            systems, but, currently, at least one signalling system must be installed for each
            country that the train operates in. The driver, if he is not changed at the border, must
            be conversant with each one of these systems. Having only one system to operate
            will reduce therefore the complexity of rolling stock as well as simplifying the
            operations and maintenance.

            Moreover, the fact of having a European standard which will be deployed relatively
            quickly on a European scale, in a context of free competition between the railway
            manufacturers, will confer on the latter a competitive advantage when exporting their
            products outside the Union. This will encourage a drop in prices of signalling
            equipment within the European Union.

                            ETCS: an export market for European rail industry

             Bombardier Transportation was awarded in spring 2004 a €32 million contract for
             the equipment of 414 trains and of 760 kilometres of lines in Korea. This contract
             follows a previous one, concerning 756 trains and 1200 kilometres in Taiwan.

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                 Lastly, the ETCS makes it possible to fit secondary lines with a signalling system
                 offering a safety level at least equivalent to the system currently used on high speed
                 lines. On the main lines, the ETCS also makes it possible to increase capacity.
                 According to the UNIFE1, ETCS may increase the track capacity between 15 and
                 20% in relation to the existing systems.

     4.3.        A rapid migration strategy

                 Accordingly, if the installation of ETCS is not considered during the upgrade of an
                 existing rail line or construction of a new line and a national system is installed, then
                 interoperability on that line becomes much more difficult during the lifetime of the
                 signalling equipment. This lifetime generally exceeds 20 years. The problem is
                 similar for on board equipment, as it is not rare that a locomotive lifetime exceeds
                 thirty years.

                 Paradoxically therefore, while the main actors of the sector (industrialists,
                 infrastructure managers, rail companies) agree to say that ETCS is the only up-and-
                 coming solution for the rail signalling, analyses made in the short run and not taking
                 account the implementation of the ETCS on the rest of the trans-european network,
                 sometimes result in adopting a conservative attitude.

                 As indicated previously, until a critical mass is reached for trackside, in terms of
                 lines equipped with the ETCS system, and on board, in terms of fitted engines, the
                 weight of "the legacy systems" will continue constituting a barrier to the deployment
                 of the ETCS system: the infrastructure managers hesitate to set up a system which is
                 not used by a sufficiently significant number of trains and, in parallel, railway
                 undertakings will hesitate to equip their rolling stock with ETCS if the number of
                 lines equipped with the system is not sufficient.

                 On the other hand, once a substantial part of the network and of the rolling stock is
                 equipped, ETCS equipment will be impossible to circumvent both on board and
                 trackside and it will rapidly become the „norm‟.

                 Until a genuine ETCS network is created and until a significant number of trains are
                 equipped with ETCS, the trackside and on-board will continue to be equipped with
                 the old systems. This represents additional costs as illustrated by the example of the
                 Thalys. Moreover, trackside, ETCS will only be able to generate the economies
                 connected with the removal of certain fixed equipment, such as the track side
                 signalling, only when all rolling stocks will be fitted with the ETCS system.

                 By shortening the migration period and reducing it to a period of ten to twelve years,
                 whilst in parallel ensuring the interoperability of large international corridors, it is
                 possible to substantially reduce the costs linked to the coexistence of various national
                 systems. Such a strategy would also make it possible to fully benefit more quickly
                 from the advantages mentioned previously.

         Union of the European Railway Industries

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                 Such a “rapid” migration strategy is supported by the rail sector that agreed on a
                 Memorandum of Understanding, which lays down the basic principles for a
                 deployment strategy of ERTMS within an indicative 10 to 12 years time period.


                 This "rapid" migration strategy aims therefore to reach the critical mass over an
                 indicative period from ten to twelve years by fitting ETCS systematically during
                 signalling and rolling stock renewals as well as fitting, according to a coordinated
                 deployment plan, existing rolling stock and lines.
                 In order to make a first rough estimation of the costs, it is necessary to estimate the
                 average costs of the ETCS per kilometre of line and per rolling stock equipped, as
                 well as the number of kilometres and rolling stock to be fitted in order to reach the
                 critical mass.

     5.1.        The "average" trackside and on board costs of the ETCS.
                 The trackside costs vary largely according to the traffic density, whether it is a new
                 line or not and the way in which one attributes certain costs (such as the deployment
                 of the GSM-R system or those connected with keeping the old system) to the ETCS.
                 The direct costs connected with the deployment of the ETCS vary therefore widely
                 according to the cases in point. On average, it seems that the cost of €75.000 per
                 kilometre for a double track, for ETCS only, i.e. without counting GSM-R, could be
                 taken as a reference. Such rough estimation can obviously not substitute studies to be
                 carried out on a case by case basis, in particular in the frame of studies related to
                 corridors foreseen by the Memorandum Of Understanding referred to later in this

                 On board, costs vary especially according to the difficulty of installing the ETCS
                 system and of interfacing it with the other on board systems. According to UNIFE2
                 these costs vary between €200,000 and €300,000 per train, and are about €100.000
                 on new trains. These costs may be lower, in particular when a large number of
                 vehicles of the same type are to be equipped with the ETCS.

                 An overview of the results from the last calls for tender seems to indicate that these
                 costs are dropping, in particular due to the effects of competition on a product that is
                 becoming technologically mature.

                                  The example of the new high-speed line Rome-Naples

                  For this line, which will be opened at the end of 2005, with ETCS as the sole
                  signalling system, the total "direct" cost associated with ETCS is approximately
                  €30,000 per kilometre for the trackside. The train on board equipment is
                  approximately €300,000 per train.

         Union of the European Railway industries

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     5.2.   An estimate of the size of the "critical mass"

            Obviously, it is difficult to accurately determine the exact level to which rolling
            stock and trackside must be fitted, thus ensuring that network managers “naturally”
            use ETCS and could do without the legacy systems. It is nevertheless necessary to
            carry out the best possible estimation from the current state of knowledge in order to
            evaluate the financial implications.

            With regard to the trackside network, the figure of 20,000 kilometres of double
            tracks should be confirmed by the rail sector. For on board, it is often considered that
            10,000 existing locomotives or trainsets could be retrofitted over the ten-year
            reference period.

     5.3.   The cost of the "critical mass"

            Under the previous hypotheses, which remains to be confirmed by the sector and to
            be refined within the framework of studies to be lead corridor by corridor, the costs
            to be considered for a ten-year reference period would approximately be

            –     1,5 billion euros for trackside, corresponding to 20,000 kilometres of double
                  track at EUR 75,000 per kilometre. This is the indicative average cost for the
                  installation of ETCS on existing, upgraded or new lines.
            –     2,5 billion euros for the on-board, corresponding to the equipment of 10,000
                  existing engines (retrofitting), for which the installation of ETCS would cost
                  approximately EUR 250,000 for each locomotive or trainset.
            In total, this “rapid” migration strategy would have therefore an annual cost of EUR
            400 million. As a comparison, in the 15 "old" Member States approximately 13
            billion euros was invested annually in infrastructure on the trans-european networks
            during the period 1996-2001. The investment in ETCS would represent 3% of the
            sole investment infrastructure.

     5.4.   The financing of the critical mass

            This project has a clear European added value that justifies a substantial support from
            Community funds.

            Studies under the framework of the trans-european Networks (TEN), and other
            technical support measures, can benefit from Community support by up to 50% of
            the eligible costs. For the other projects, Community support does generally not
            exceed 10%, but can be increased to 20% for cross-border priority projects where
            there is compliancy with the interoperability directives.

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                  Moreover, Member States benefiting from cohesion funds can benefit from
                  significant Community resources that may cover a large part (up to 85%) of the costs
                  of the implementation of ERTMS in the railway projects they want to finance.
                  The on-board costs of ERTMS can of course benefit from community support, as is a
                  key part of the ETCS system.

                  For the period 2007-2013, and within the framework of the trans-european transport
                  networks, the Commission proposed3 a budget of 20.35 billion €. This proposal
                  which has to be adopted by the Parliament and the Member States, stipulates that
                  exceptionally, for projects linked to the deployment of interoperable systems, of
                  safety and security, the rate may reach a maximum of 50% for the total eligible cost
                  of the works.

                  The cohesion funds should have a global envelop of € 63 billion, and half of this sum
                  should be dedicated to the transeuropean networks. Half of this amount should be
                  dedicated to railway projects.

                  However a condition of this funding will be strict adherence to interoperability
                  requirements. These funds could facilitate the deployment of ETCS on parts of the
                  trans-european networks, and in particular for the major projects included in the list
                  of the priority projects4, for which the work should start before 2010.

                  This strengthened mechanism will, with no doubt, raise the level of ambition of
                  national ETCS deployment plans whilst also supporting those first infrastructure
                  managers and Railway Undertakings who are installing ETCS.

     5.5.         Financial conditions

                  The deployment of ETCS requires that the on board signalling system is made
                  compatible with the trackside one. In this framework, the potential role of national
                  authorities and infrastructure managers to act as recipients of Community support
                  whilst ensuring in a non-discriminatory way the granting financial assistance to the
                  concerned railway undertakings for the on-board fitment of ERTMS equipment,
                  should be considered.


                  The Commission proposes therefore that a substantial financial effort be carried out
                  in order to promote the interoperability in general and ETCS deployment in
                  particular. In this context, it should be ensured that Community funds allocated to the
                  sector, and in particular in infrastructure projects, do not go against the achievement
                  of an interoperable trans-european network.

         COM (2004) 475 final
         annex II to Decision 884/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council

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                                    Compliance with interoperability requirements

                  Generally, the Commission receives many good projects containing extensive
                  Community benefits; however it is not always possible to fund them all. For this
                  reason, funding priorities should be defined. Therefore, the non-compliance or non-
                  application of the technical interoperability requirements in general, and the use of
                  signalling systems other than ETCS in particular, even when justified legally, will
                  be considered as a negative factor during the evaluations of these projects.

                 More concretely, in projects involving GSM-R or ETCS, it must be ensured that a
                 train equipped with an ETCS and GSM-R module from one manufacturer is able to
                 operate on a network fitted with trackside equipment from another supplier.
                 Similarly, a “seamless” (in the sense that the operation of the train will not be
                 affected) hand-over between GSM-R networks, particularly at border crossings, shall
                 be ensured.

                 The industry is working on the basis of common specifications, laid down in
                 particular in the technical Interoperability Specifications5 adopted for the High Speed
                 by the Commission in 2002.

                 For conventional rail, the STI has been approved by the competent committee on 23
                 November 2004 and should be adopted by the Commission when the translations
                 will be ready (mid-2005).

                 Obviously, these specifications will be subject to modifications, for example to take
                 into account technology development and possible inaccuracies which may be
                 identified during system development.
                 Inaccuracies in the specifications could lead to the development of incompatible
                 software for certain functions. In order to assure interoperability, a change control
                 management procedure for modifications has been set up in agreement with the rail
                 sector. The European Rail Agency will, in the future, deal with and arbitrate over any
                 modification requests. It is foreseen that the agency will progressively, as from the
                 second half of 2005, act as the System Authority for both ETCS and GSM-R.

                       The European Railway Agency: the guardian of the technical specifications

                  The railway agency shall in particular revise the technical interoperability
                  specifications, which, for example, indicate the exact format of the messages which
                  have to be exchanged between the track and the train. The agency will also assist
                  the Commission in the evaluation, as far as interoperability is concerned, of projects
                  benefiting from a Community financial support. Every two years, it will carry out a
                  report on the progress achieved in the field of interoperability.


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          It must also be ensured that prototypes are fully tested before starting operation, with
          a view to ensuring that they are fully in compliance with the interoperablity
          specifications. In practice, the use of common “environment simulators”, identical
          and accepted by the railway sector, appears essential for the conformity assessment
          of on-board ETCS equipment.

                        Confirming that interoperability requirements are met

           For any project supported by Community funds and involving the implementation
           of ETCS or of GSM-R, the final payment will be subject to a demonstration that the
           system meets the interoperability requirements. For on-board equipment, this
           demonstration will have to include tests on identical environment simulators. For
           trackside equipment, discussions will be held with the sector with a view to setting
           up an appropriate method of detecting at the earliest possible stage any
           interoperability problem. A standard clause will be inserted to this end in the
           individual financing decisions.


          Often, for an infrastructure manager, the decision to install ETCS on a line or on a
          part of its network depends on the strategy of its neighbouring networks. At the same
          time, a railway undertaking will not enter into a migration strategy without having
          clear visibility of the strategy of the infrastructure managers that manage the network
          it uses. In its turn, the migration strategy of the railway undertakings will have a
          considerable influence on the strategy of the infrastructure managers. Therefore, the
          need for coordination is obvious.

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     7.1.   The Memorandum Of Understanding between the Commission and the rail

            A MoU is envisaged between the Commission and the European Railway
            Associations (including manufacturers associations, infrastructure managers and
            railway undertakings) in order to promote the deployment of the ERTMS in general
            and of ETCS in particular. The rail sector in particular has committed itself to
            assisting the Member States in the preparation of the national plans, and also the
            Commission, in consolidating national plans into a European plan.
            The Commission expects from the rail sector that it collaborates fully in the
            development of studies, in particular to specify the costs connected with the
            migration towards ETCS on these corridors.
     7.2.   The European coordinator

            In this context, it appears appropriate to appoint a European coordinator who would
            facilitate the coordinated deployment of the ERTMS in general and of the ETCS
            signalling system in particular. He should facilitate the development of coherent
            national deployment plans and facilitate the implementation of the MoU mentioned

     8.     CONCLUSIONS

            The Commission considers that rapid ETCS deployment on a strategic part of the
            trans-european rail network will have a snowball effect, making it possible to rapidly
            reach a situation where ETCS becomes the standard signalling system on some
            18,000 kilometres of the trans-european network. Such rapid deployment is
            consistent with the revitalisation that is needed in the rail sector.
            In order to accelerate this deployment, this working document indicates how the
            financial resources available within the framework of the existing financial
            instruments could be mobilised, in particular for the first infrastructure managers and
            for the first railway undertakings who will take the path of fitting ETCS.

            At the same time the Commission will ensure that the interoperability specifications
            are strictly adhered to, in projects benefiting from Community support.

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