ERTMS stands for European Rail Traffic Management System, a European standard for train safety and control systems. First and foremost, ERTMS prevents trains from passing a red light, but the system offers other additional benefits. Since the on-board software communicates with systems installed along the track, the rail traffic controllers can check the precise location of the train at any given time. This creates new opportunities to manage rail traffic more efficiently – by allowing a train to run ahead of another, delayed train rather than behind it, for example.


Strukton Rail is currently working together with Thales on the roll-out of ERTMS in Denmark. This new technology will be installed along no less than 1,200 km of railway track. Strukton Rail bears responsibility for all installation work. In the Netherlands, Strukton Rail already worked on this system as early as 2004, contributing to the very first Dutch ERTMS project: the Betuwe Route. In 2010, Strukton Rail installed ERTMS along the railway between Amsterdam and Utrecht, and in 2014 near Zevenaar.

Yellow ‘briefcases’

ERTMS handles the exchange of information between the rail traffic control centre and the train. The rail traffic controllers give the train permission to enter a particular track section, and the train offers information about its current location and speed in return. Every time the train passes a balise – the little yellow ‘briefcases’ mounted along the centre of the track – the balise tells it its current position. The engine driver sees on a monitor in the cab at which speed he is allowed to proceed to which track section. If the driver attempts to enter a specific section without permission, "#$%& intervenes, and the train is brought to a standstill before entering the section.

“The installation of ERTMS at Zevenaar was quite a complicated affair. It involved connecting ERTMS to the existing rail safety systems. We formed the link between the theoretical aspects of the design and real-life requirements. Our added value mainly lay in our involvement in the development of a solid final design. An important condition for making this contribution was our excellent collaboration with ProRail, the engineering firm and the supplier of the system. ”

André Geuze, project manager at Strukton Systems

More information