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The North Netherlands are ready for the future with new signalling and speed control system ERTMS

01-11-2021

About 270 kilometres of rail in Groningen and Friesland will be equipped with modern signalling and speed control system ERTMS before 2030. During a work visit to Groningen, state secretary Steven van Weyenberg together with the two Provinces signed the management agreement for this.

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ERTMS makes the railway safer and more sustainable. The current signalling and speed control system ATB is due for replacement in the north. By making the choice to no longer invest in the old system, but to transition to ERTMS sooner than planned, the Government will save 60 million euro. This sum is now invested in converting the regional trains with the most modern signalling and speed control system and in training staff to use ERTMS. This reduces the costs for the provinces of Groningen and Friesland that are responsible for transportation on these regional lines as the grantor.

Investing in the north

State secretary Steven van Weyenberg: 'Together with the Provinces of Groningen and Friesland, we will invest in the new ERTMS signalling and speed control system to make the railway even safer and to ensure that over time more trains can use it. An older version of the system is already in place in a number of places in the Netherlands. The new system will be put into commission between now and 2031 on seven track sections. So the north will soon be a frontrunner. The arrival of ERTMS in the North Netherlands paves the way for even more developments in the provinces of Groningen and Friesland. And that's not only good news for Groningen and Friesland, it's good news for the rest of the Netherlands, too. We expect to learn a lot from this project and in the end the whole of the Dutch railway will benefit.'

ERTMS sooner on early deployment line

By implementing ERTMS first on the northern lines, the ERTMS programme can put the early deployment line into commission as soon as possible. This early deployment line offers the possibility of gaining experience with driving under ERTMS on a less active track section than the Amsterdam - Utrecht section, for example. This limits the risks of hindrance for passengers and loaders when implementing it on the next track sections.

Northern lines as an expansion of the ERTMS programme

In May 2021, the State Secretary made the decision to add the northern lines to the scope of the ERTMS programme. By signing the management agreement, the scope expansion has become a fact and the rail industry can get to work. It is expected that ERTMS can first be used on the Harlingen Haven - Leeuwarden line in 2026. The works will start within 5 years. The total costs for the conversion of the trains are 90 million euro. The Government pays 60 million euro of this sum, the Province of Groningen 20 million euro and the Province of Friesland 10 million euro.

Read the press release on the website of the Province of Groningen or the Province of Friesland.

In the photo at the top of the page, from left to right Yvonne Dubben - Arriva, Sieds Hoitinga - Province of Friesland, Steven van Weyenberg - State Secretary of Infrastructure and Water Management, Fleur Gräper-van Koolwijk - Province of Groningen and Ans Rietstra - ProRail.

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