THE Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA) has awarded Thales a contract for the design, delivery, installation and testing of a 5G-based ETCS Level 2 signalling system on the Kouvola - Kotka/Hamina line, which will be designed for the future introduction of Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS).

The line will be the first ETCS Level 2 test track in Finland, paving the way for the national rollout of ETCS Level 2. The contract will allow FTIA to test the radio networks provided by commercial telecom operators for the transmission of ETCS data in the communication between the Radio Block Centre (RBC) and trains, in preparation for the introduction of FRMCS as soon as new standard allows.

The system is expected to enter commercial use in early 2023.

Finland plans to install a radio network-based ETCS system throughout the country, while also developing the competence of Finnish signalling system experts in ETCS Level 2.

A key element following the signing of the contract will be the specification phase, where the more precise elements of the ETCS system will be defined, developed and designed in collaboration with Thales, with the objective of identifying a generic ETCS Level 2 solution that best supports the project and Finland’s future goals.

“With the help of the upcoming test track, we are taking a significant leap towards the modern radio network-based ETCS system that Finland is seeking,” says project manager of the Finnish ERTMS program at the FTIA, Mr Juha Lehtola. “The system is based on 5G technology and it aims to be compatible with FRMCS. I’m sure that test results will arouse great interest all over Europe.”

“The Kouvola - Kotka/Hamina railway is very important route for Finnish freight traffic,” says FTIA division director of projects, Mr Esa Sirkiä. “We will finally get the safety of modern signalling system on the track. At the same time we take a leap towards the future by building the ETCS test track.”