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EUSPA project applies space tracking to railways

September 29, 2021  - By
Three test trains, one per rail operator (SNCF, DBN Netz and SBB/Siemens), are used to collect real data. Above is an SBB train in the Lavaux-Oron district, Switzerland. (Photo: RomanBabakin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

Three test trains, one per rail operator (SNCF, DBN Netz and SBB/Siemens), are used to collect real data. Above is an SBB train in the Lavaux-Oron district, Switzerland. (Photo: RomanBabakin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

The European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) could start using Europe’s space solutions to manage rail traffic.

A project funded by the European Union Space Program Agency (EUSPA) is taking steps toward providing a cost-efficient train-tracking solution based on satellite technology, together with other sensors and data.

Knowing the exact position of each train is at the heart of rail operations across the European Union (EU). ERTMS is a major industrial EU project to create a more efficient and safer interoperable railway system. It currently relies on a series of costly ground instruments. In the coming years, ERTMS could switch to EU space solutions.

In a project dubbed CLUG — short for Certifiable Localization Unit with GNSS — experienced rail operators and infrastructure managers came together to define a set of specifications and operational scenarios that meet the most stringent safety needs of the rail sector. The specifications are used by the architects of the CLUG consortium, who are in the process of rolling out the system.

The project’s goal is to assess the creation of a failsafe train localization onboard unit (TLOBU) interoperable across the entire European railway network. The TLOBU will provide trains and railway operators with critical information such as positioning and velocity, complemented by acceleration, heading and attitude for applications.

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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