EU Commission approves €22m to promote rail transport operability in the Netherlands
The European Commission has approved €22.2 million of public support to upgrade the traffic management equipment on freight locomotives in the Netherlands.
The scheme will help to make railway systems more interoperable in the EU without unduly distorting competition.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of EU competition policy said: “The Dutch scheme will contribute to the deployment of the European Rail Traffic Management System and to the creation of a Single European Railway Area. It will improve the competitiveness of European railways and foster the shift of freight traffic from road to rail, in line with the EU’s environmental and transport objectives, without unduly distorting competition.”
In October 2019, the Netherlands notified the EU Commission of their plans to finance the upgrade of the 99 cross-border freight locomotives with the newest European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on-board equipment.
ERTMS is a railway safety system that ensures compliance by trains with speed restrictions and signalling status and is expected to enable the creation of a seamless European railway system, and increase the safety and competitiveness of the European wide rail sector. The deployment plan requires that about 30% to 40% of the European Core Network Corridors should be equipped with ERTMS by 2023.
To meet this requirement, the Netherlands is planning to deploy the latest version of ERTMS on a large share of its core national railway network. As a result owners of the trains who invested in the retrofitting of their freight locomotives with a previous version of the ERTMS on-board equipment, will now need to upgrade to ensure interoperability with the latest version of the ERTMS.
The support will take the form of grants, to be used for prototyping and serial upgrades. The support by the state will be complemented by grants for a total of €23.8 million and financed through the Connecting Europe Facility.
Establishing a Single European Railway Area (SERA) is part of the EU Commission’s agenda of a fairer and deeper internal European market with an overarching goal to revitalise the rail sector and make European railways innovative and competitive.