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ProRail and Thales sign contract for axle counter system ERTMS

07-12-2021

The introduction of the signalling and speed control system is tied to a number of sizeable tenders. One of which is the tender for the Generic Axle Counter System for ERTMS, abbreviated to GAST-ERTMS in the Netherlands. ProRail and Thales signed the contract on 7 December.

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After a successful development, Thales can provide axis counting systems for new ERTMS track sections for a maximum of eight years. It is expected that over 600 kilometres of rail are provided with ERTMS and the GAST-ERTMS axle counter system in that period. The final delivery of axle counters is expected in 2032 with another 25 years of service provision for system maintenance. The contract has a value of 100 million euro.

Railway of tomorrow

CEO John Voppen of ProRail and general director John Alfrink of Thales sign the contract. Until recently, ERTMS was but a blip on the horizon. Now preparations are fully underway. 'Together with and on behalf of the railway industry, we make that effort', says John Voppen. 'Another great step to the railway of tomorrow has been made with the axle counter system contract.'

John Alfrink added: 'Safety is the leitmotiv for all our solutions. We are proud of the fact that our axle counters will contribute to the safety of the Dutch railway. ERTMS has become vital due to digitisation of the railways and the increased activity on the railway.'

What are axle counters?

ProRail replaces the current ATO security system with the digital signalling and speed control system ERTMS, the European train control standard. The implementation of ERTMS requires a large number of new axle counters. An axle counter system is a modern form of train detection; the system counts the number of wheel axles of trains entering and exiting a section and thus determines if a section is free of trains (no axles in the section) or if it is occupied.

ProRail and ERTMS Programme Management

The ERTMS Programme Management is a part of ProRail but is not part of ProRail's regular line organisation. The implementation of ERTMS in the rail infrastructure is assigned to the line organisation. This department is called Implementation ERTMS ProRail.

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