WIT Press

Evaluation Of The Capacity Limitations And Suitability Of The European Traffic Management System To Support Automatic Train Operation On Main Line Applications


Free (open access)





Page Range

193 - 202




469 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


P. Thomas, D. Fisher & F. Sheikh


The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is the concept by which Europe is moving towards the standardisation of its rail signal control systems. Standardisation focuses on interfaces necessary for interoperability between trainborne and trackside equipment. ERTMS represents a step change for many railways’, the vast majority of which are signalled with colour light signals and basic warning systems. ERTMS is specified in a number of different levels, and dependant on the implementation can introduce the benefits of cabsignalling, automatic train protection and future moving block train separation. This paper examines the capabilities and limitations of an ETCS/ERTMS level 2 implementation as specified by the current Technical Specifications for Interoperability for use in high density network locations and the suitability of ETCS/ERTMS to support the integration of an Automatic Train Operation (ATO) overlay. A generic sample section has been developed to analyse the headway constraints within the current ERTMS solution. The conclusions from the study suggest that there are no fundamental constraints preventing a level 2 implementation supporting an operational headway of 24 Trains Per Hour with recovery margin. The use of ATO for a high density application will offer an improved headway performance but will require a level of development and enhancement to the ERTMS functionality and architecture to correctly implement some ATO functionality. A further potential constraint is the capacity of the GSM-R radio communication network. This limitation can be removed by the envisaged migration to packet mode (GPRS) data transmission. Keywords: ERTMS, systems performance, train control systems, GSM-R, ATO.


ERTMS, systems performance, train control systems, GSM-R, ATO.