The scheme, which will now run until 2022, will see public support provided in the form of direct grants to fleet owners or operators to upgrade existing equipment.

The EC assessed the measure under EU State aid rules, in particular the 2008 Commission Guidelines on State aid for train operators, finding that the measure is beneficial for the environment and mobility.

The measure will help to achieve the EU’s objectives including increasing the interoperability of the EU’s rail network and supporting the shift of freight from road to rail.

The aid will also have an “incentive effect” as fleet owners or operators would not perform the necessary upgrade of their rolling stock in the absence of the public support.

Under the Czech national ETCS implementation plan, trains not equipped with ETCS will not be allowed to operate on ETCS-equipped routes from January 1 2025.