The purpose of the ETCS section of the Railway Certification Laboratory is to enable functional verification of the ETCS on-board subsystems, levels 1 and 2, or parts thereof as defined in the European specifications of Baseline 2 (UNISIG SUBSET-026 v.2.3.0 ) and of Baseline 3 (UNISIG SUBSET-026 v.3.4.0).
The laboratory is structured in full compliance with the ETCS Baseline 2 and Baseline 3 test specifications. Its architecture and external interfaces meet the requirements established in SUBSET-094 v.2.0.2 and v.3.0.0 “Functional requirements for an on-board reference Test Facility”. Its equipment enables Test Cases to be performed according to the SUBSET-076-5-2 standard and relative Test Sequences according to the SUBSET-076-6-3 standard, version 2.3.3 and 3.0.0 or according to specific certification or debug needs.
The laboratory has instruments, software and hardware, specifically developed to meet the test specifications defined in European standards. The development of real-time devices based on FPGA architecture allows to reach high accuracy and repeatability levels during test execution.
The laboratory uses highly automated procedures to perform the tests and assess the results, so as to optimise testing time and minimise operator intervention. It is characterised by its great flexibility in interfacing with the different on-board systems, thanks to the wide-ranging possibility of using interface adaptors, which can be built ad-hoc to cover all practical needs.
At international level, the laboratory participates in, together with ETCS Reference Laboratories, ERA (European Railway Agency) and UNISIG (Union Industry of Signalling), several working groups/projects, including:
- CEF project Connecting Europe Facility is a key EU funding instrument to promote growth, jobs and competitiveness through targeted infrastructure investment at European level. RINA is involved in the Action: “Support to the implementation of ERMTS” (2014-EU-TM-0276-S). One of the main targets consists in updating and reviewing the ERTMS Baseline 3 specifications(SUBSET-076 e SUBSET-094);
- “Review and Apportionment of ERTMS/ETCS System Requirements Specification”, the aim being to separate the requirements for trackside and on-board equipment and to produce a Requirement Management Tool to map out future changes to the specifications;
- “ERTMS Baseline 3 Backward Compatibility Test” in order to test backward compatibility between an On-Board Unit equipped with an ETCS Baseline 3 system and the test sequences defined in SUBSET-076 of Baseline 2.
The fully equipped laboratory combined with the professionalism of the personnel, in terms of both testing activities and thorough knowledge of international standards, ensure a high qualitative standard of the services offered.
FOCUS – WHAT IS ETCS?
ETCS, acronym for European Train Control System, enables information to be transmitted to the driver related to line status, permitted speed and to continuously check that this information is being complied with. Together with the GSM-R, radio system based on the GSM mobile phone standard and used in the railway field to exchange information between the trackside equipment and the train, it forms the so-called ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System).
The ETCS system can be developed at four application levels:
- Level 0 (STM level): Data transmission to the train via non harmonised, specific national systems;
- Level 1: Data transmission to the train via EUROBALISE but discontinuously and possibility of in-fill through the EUROLOOP system. The detection and integrity supervision functions of the train are performed through specific national trackside equipment;
- Level 2: Continuous data transmission to the train essentially via the GSM-R radio. The detection and integrity supervision functions of the train are performed through specific national trackside equipment;
- Level 3: Continuous data transmission to the train essentially via the GSM-R radio. The detection and integrity supervision functions are performed by the trackside equipment in conjunction with the train.
Over the years, RINA personnel have acquired considerable experience in performing tests of compliance on products used in the ERTMS/ETCS control-command and signalling systems, actively contributing to defining the international reference standards and continuously collaborating with the main European bodies for the updating and harmonisation of test specifications.