DANISH infrastructure manager Banedanmark has completed the installation of ETCS on the Copenhagen - Køge Nord - Ringsted high-speed line. The line was due to be equipped with ETCS when it opened in May 2019, but initially operated with the legacy Danish signalling system due to delays with the Danish national ERTMS programme.

While Banedanmark has already installed ETCS on several lines, Copenhagen - Ringsted line is the first inter-regional line to be equipped.

Banedanmark says the system will lead to fewer signalling errors, the single biggest cause of delays on the network, and will also mean that more passengers can now travel directly from Næstved via Køge to Copenhagen without changing trains.

“I am pleased on behalf of the passengers, not least the commuters on Zealand, who can look forward to fewer signalling errors and thus more trains on time,” says minister for transport, Mr Thomas Danielsen. “We are currently investing billions in the railway, and even if this results in periods of unstable train services while the construction work takes place, the gain is better quality and more trains on time.”

“I am proud that we have now for the first time rolled out the new signalling system on a main line,” says Banedanmark director of signalling, Mr Janus Steen Møller. “The old interlockings are the single biggest cause of delayed trains. When we put a new system into use, we cannot avoid the fact that there will be teething problems at first, but in the long term, all experience shows that the number of errors decreases and the quality is improved for passengers.”

National operator DSB said it was pleased with the new system, which would benefit passengers in the long term.

“Today, faults in the old signalling system account for a third of all delays, and there is no doubt in my mind that the new signalling system will significantly improve punctuality and the customer experience,” says DSB director of operations, Mr Per Schrøder. “There will be challenges in the beginning, but I note that Banedanmark is monitoring and following the development closely, and I am completely confident about that.”

Banedanmark plans to install ETCS Level 2 Baseline 3 on more than 2600km of track by 2030.