European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS)
The gathering pace of the move toward the ‘Digital Railway’, including the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) and advanced train control systems, represents what Network Rail’s CEO Mark Carne has called “the biggest change in the railway in many generations.”
ERTMS will transform Britain’s railways at considerable scale and with total reach across the network; delivered through an extended programme that will demand wide-ranging training provision to meet these needs – from general appreciation to in depth design and systems engineering courses.
Thirteen ‘job families’ have been identified across a working population of some 55,000 people who will require significant training to do their jobs, whilst many thousands more will need a general appreciation of the new technologies and how they work.
When most of us think about telecommunications networks, what we usually have in mind are voice calls, text messaging and internet access. On the railway network however, telecoms technology is far more advanced: it controls the equipment that keeps trains on the tracks and passengers safe. Whenever high speed trains are involved, accuracy matters.
Sophisticated telecommunications networks quietly form the technical arteries of the UK rail infrastructure. Highly skilled telecommunications engineers use ultramodern processes, techniques and equipment to install, commission and maintain one of Europe’s most robust safety-critical telecoms networks. A Railway Telecommunications Engineer needs to be able to draw on an extensive catalogue of skills to deliver engineering projects to the impeccable standards required for high speed rail.
Railway telecommunications systems use three main transmission mediums – copper wiring, optical fibre cable
and radio transmission – to carry a whole range of different services, including signalling; on train information systems; station information and dispatch systems; and GSM-R communications: all combining to make the concept of the digital journey a reality.