Part of a wider 83 million Euros package for various transport projects, the grant announced by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW) has come from the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) programme.
The gradual Europe-wide implementation of ERTMS is designed to promote the interoperability of trains through enhanced signalling technology, which will increase trains’ efficiency and ensure a seamless passage through international corridors and across national borders.
The ERTMS grant awarded to The Netherlands covers some 300 freight locomotives, and is supported by a contribution of 15 million Euros by the IenW. By 2023 all locomotives must be equipped with the latest version of ERTMS, says the IenW, and the incorporation of this signalling system is important for the future of the national rail network.
Roll-out of ERTMS in The Netherlands has recently been criticised, after a report by the European Court of Auditors in October concluded that ERTMS implementation was ‘insufficient’ and ‘too fragmented. In November the Dutch rail pressure group RailGood petitioned Parliament for action to help stimulate rail cargo transport, and this included a call for suspension of the ERTMS implementation.
RailGood believes that while in the long run a single system should be deployed, there are currently too many factors which make ERTMS implementation an ‘operative risk’. The switch to different security systems requires a switch of trains, which increases the overall transit time, while not all drivers are yet familiar with every signalling system, it says.