No barriers for level crossings with ERTMS

Author: Maarten Bartholomeus
Day: Introduction Day
Session: Level Crossings

The best level crossing is no level crossing. But although the goal is to eliminate the level crossings this may not always feasible or affordable. Does the introduction of ERTMS allow to innovate the level crossing protection? Can the ERTMS system provide ways to protect level crossings providing an more constant warning time and if possible reduce the announcement time of the level crossing due to variations in the train speed and/or deviations in the planned operation?In the conventional signalling system trackside train detection is used to close the level crossing if the train in the depicted announcement zone. As the train in ERTMS reports it position and speed, can this information be used to provide a safe mechanism to close the level crossing? Even with issues as communication delays, lost messages, position inaccuracies, etc? Furthermore could this result in a more constant and even shorter level crossing closing time.As discussed in earlier presentations [ETCS and Level crossings, RG 2017] the type of level crossing protection concepts vary. For The Netherlands the announcement time can be relative short because the closure of the level crossing is considered to be failsafe. This deviates from some countries where the barriers have to be reported as closed before the train is authorised across the level crossing. This introduces a risk that with train detection failures, e.g. a loss of shunt, that the barriers are not closed in time. This issue is more imminent with the modern trains and often requires additional trackside train detection. Can ERTMS information help to reduce the required train detection and reduce this risk?As the fail-safe operation of the level crossing can result in long closing times in degraded situations, special procedures are applicable when a level crossing is closed to long or reported as malfunctioning. Can ERTMS provide information to improve these procedures?Level crossings close to a platform for short stops often suffer from long closing times due to the unpredictable delays in dwelling. If possible special short announcements zone are created in these area's to minimise impact of the variations in the dwelling times. However this requires additional trackside train detection and localized logic which is expensive. How can ERTMS provide information and protection for these type of level crossings?In this presentation the improvements with ERTMS for the mentioned issues for level crossing protection are presented and discussed. These improvements are included in the ERTMS specification for the Dutch ERTMS roll-out program.