Freight Rail, Products & Technology, Signalling & Communications

Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency selects Thales to boost its rail network

A new technology system being implemented by Thales, is based on 5G technology.

FINNISH Transport Infrastructure Agency has awarded a contract to Thales for the design, delivery, installation and testing of a signalling system for a key rail line.

The contract is for the ETCS L2 test system for Kouvola- Kotka-Hamina line.

The renewal of the signalling system for Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina line is on one of the most important railway lines in Finland.

The Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina railway section in Southern Finland connects the ports of Hamina and Kotka which are important to Finland.

Improving this railway network is expected to improve Finland’s export industry competitiveness, providing ecological and economic benefits.

Furthermore, this is an important step as this prepares the railway system towards automation as well as improving safety, reliability and punctuality.

Kotka-Kouvola-Hamina is to be the first European Train Control System (ETCS) L2 test track in Finland and will launch a nation-wide train control system update to ETCS L2.

In this project, FTIA will test the radio networks provided by commercial telecom operators for the transmission of ETCS data in the communication between the RBC and the rolling stock. The test system will be ground-breaking in Europe, and the big goal is to prepare for the introduction of Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) as soon as EU standards allow.

Finland’s goal is to build this test track to support the goal of building a radio network based ETCS covering the entire country.

Another key goal of this project is to develop the competence of Finnish signalling system experts at ETCS L2.

“The Kouvola–Kotka / Hamina railway is very important route for Finnish freight traffic,” said Esa Sirkiä, division director of projects at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

“We will finally get the safety of modern signalling system on the track,” he said.

“At the same time we take a leap towards the future by building the ETCS test track.

“Finland is a pioneer in the digitalization of railways. 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.”

Project manager of Finnish ERTMS Juha Lehtola said the system was based on 5G technology and it aimed to be compatible with FRMCS.

“I’m sure that test results will arouse great interest all over Europe,” Lehtola said.

Thales vice president main line signalling, Dr Yves Joannic, said they were “very pleased to have been awarded this contract, thereby contributing the socioeconomic technological and ecological future of Finland”.

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