THE Europe’s Rail joint undertaking has confirmed that the System Pillar Consortium has won a €45m tender to implement the System Pillar of the new joint research initiative, which is set to formally begin work at the end of the year.

The objective of the System Pillar is to go beyond the immediate membership of Europe’s Rail to encourage adoption and implementation of research innovations and new products developed by the joint research undertaking. In particular, the System Pillar aims to deliver cost efficiency in integration, maintenance and evolution of the railway system, improving overall performance and strengthening interoperability by encouraging large-scale and faster deployment of leading-edge technologies.

The funding will provide the necessary resources and sector input to ensure that the System Pillar achieves its objectives.

The members of the System Pillar Consortium, confirmed in an official notification issued at the end of July, are:

  • ERTMS Users Group
  • ERTMS Accredited Labs
  • Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER)
  • German Rail (DB)
  • NS Passenger
  • ÖBB Infrastructure
  • RailNetEurope
  • Italian Rail Network (RFI)
  • French National Railways (SNCF)
  • International Association of Railways (UIC)
  • The International Union of Wagon Keepers (UIP), and
  • European Railway Industry Association (Unife)

Rail experts in the consortium will work on the definition of the functional system architecture and concept of operations in three major lots: System Pillar Core Group (worth €4m), System Pillar Tasks (€37m), and Control, Command and Signalling (CCS) TSI Maintenance Activities (€4m).

The System Pillar Core Group is set to lead and monitor the day-to-day today work of the System Pillar Tasks, provide content and guidance, manage the specific inputs and channel the necessary outputs to regulations and standards. The System Pillar Tasks group will facilitate a targeted, flexible, and rapid delivery of outputs while the CCS TSI Maintenance Activities group will support maintenance, including ongoing error correction, of the CCS TSI specifications.

“The award of the tendermarks the full kick-off of System Pillar activities,” says Mr Carlo Borghini, executive director of Europe’s Rail. “The tasks outlined in the tender will activate the single coordinating body of Europe’s Rail, bringing together the rail manufacturing industry, the rail operating community and other public and private rail stakeholders, including bodies representing customers, such as passengers, freight shippers and staff, as well as relevant actors outside the traditional rail sector. European Commission policy leadership and enhanced collaboration with the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) are essential for success.”