DANISH infrastructure manager Banedanmark has commissioned ETCS on the Køge - Næstved line, the fifth section to be finished under the country’s plans to replace legacy signalling system across its full network.

Banedanmark successfully commissioned ETCS Level 2 Baseline 3 on the Langå - Struer - Holsterbro line in western Denmark in May, following the installation on the Lindholm - Frederikshavn line in October 2018, the Roskilde - Køge line in 2019 and the Thisted - Struer in April 2020. Thales is delivering ETCS and its Aramis traffic management system under a contract it is delivering with Strukton (previously Balfour Beatty) for the west of the country, covering approximately 1200km of lines, while Alstom was awarded the contract for the east of the country.

“The railway must be an attractive means of transport in Denmark, and that is why we are investing heavily in modernising and upgrading both the tracks and the trains,” says transport minister, Mr Benny Engelbrecht. “The signalling system has now been rolled out on another section, and this means more punctual trains, better use of capacity and improved safety on the line between Køge and Næstved. This is an important step in the right direction towards creating the railway of the future, which is more efficient and punctual for the benefit of rail passengers.”

“With the new signalling system, we are giving the railway between Køge and Næstved a significant technological upgrade,” says Banedanmark director of signalling systems, Mr Janus Steen Møller. “The trains will switch to using digital solutions rather than old, worn-out signals, which have generally been a source of errors and delays.”

Both the trains and the infrastructure are being upgraded as part of the rollout of ETCS, which will provide signallers with more accurate information about traffic and enable them to locate and deal with any faults much more quickly. Drivers will also be provided with more information, such as the recommended braking curve. The system also requires fewer components on the track, which reduces the risk of failures.

“We know that there is already good experience with the new signalling system on other lines, where the drivers are very happy with it,” says Mr Per Schrøder, director of operations at Danish (DSB). “With the new signals, passengers will eventually get more trains on time, and therefore it will also improve the travel experience when the new signals are in place between Køge and Næstved.”

Banedanmark has also commissioned the installation of ETCS on the 150th mainline train used on the Danish network, marking the halfway point for the rollout of the system across the mainline fleet. Alstom is delivering this contract although has experienced difficulties, prompting the government to push back the completion date for the entire project in November 2017 from 2023 until 2030.

“The equipment of the trains is an important part of the roll-out of the new signalling system, which will be put into use on more and more lines across the country in the coming years,” says Banedanmark signalling programme director, Ms Thilde Restofte Pedersen. “By equipping the trains with new technical equipment, we are giving them a significant technological upgrade that will help make the entire railway more efficient, up-to-date and punctual. In the long term, this will mean fewer signal errors and thus more trains on time.”