The aim of this first part of the tender process is to find out what innovative processes and disruptive technical solutions the firms concerned are able to suggest in relation to existing practices. This material will then serve as input for the specifications for the actual invitation to tender.
NextEVC, a project of benefit to all railway operators
As part of its railway signalling modernisation strategy, SNCF Réseau has decided to roll out ERTMS Level 2 across the national network to replace and upgrade its existing signalling systems. This should have the effect of:
- driving down maintenance costs;
- improving rail system robustness;
- boosting throughput, so more trains can be worked on the same network;
- attracting new operators through Europe-wide use of an interoperable signalling system (ETCS).
ETCS operates via a number of interconnected systems installed in the track, for example the RBC (Radio Block Centres) and Eurobalises used to transmit information to the train-mounted EVC (European Vital Computers).
EVC are similar to on-board computers and an essential part of any ETCS system. For the railway operators, however, retrofitting them on existing stock is a costly process.
In view of plans for gradual deployment of ETCS on the French rail network, SNCF Réseau has set itself the target of developing an EVC that can easily be retrofitted on all types of motive power unit (works, passenger and freight trains or historic rolling stock).
Once this new equipment, codenamed NextEVC, has been developed, SNCF Réseau intends to play its infrastructure manager role by making it available to all railway undertakings, one of its tasks being to promote the use of French rail infrastructure while offering all operators equal access.
A “design to cost” approach
SNCF Réseau fully intends to contain the costs of the NextEVC project by making it easier to retrofit ETCS on existing trains. Potential leverage lies in:
- the actual ETCS architecture, which minimises the number of interfaces between train and ETCS (electrical power supplies and emergency braking system);
- replacement of the Eurobalise reader and the odometer equipment for recording speed and distance fitted under the vehicle body with a GPS-type geolocation system, which will combine a comprehensive map of the rail network with details of the individual Eurobalise parameter settings. As soon as the GPS position of a train coincides with that of a particular Eurobalise, the data from this balise will be directly transmitted to the EVC (virtual balise principle).
For further information about the project and to take part in pre-bidding consultations, please contact Damien Martinetti (project manager)