In partnership with ALSTOM, SNCB (the national railway company of Belgium) and LINEAS, Eurailtest and the AEF have performed tests on the Belgian T13 locomotive. Belgorail, appointed by Alstom as the certification body, requested Eurailtest to carry out the testing. These tests, conducted on signalling equipment, will enable the T13 locomotive to operate in France.

Testing was performed in July 2020 in France, Belgium and Luxembourg to check the transition between the different national and European signalling systems when crossing borders.

Border transition tests to check the different signalling systems

The T13 locomotives, more commonly called Class 13, provide interoperability between the different European networks and have been used by SNCB since 1997, as well as by the LINEAS rail freight operator.

Prior to these tests, the T13 locomotives were only authorized to run with the national signalling systems and with the onboard ETCS (European Train Control System) in idle mode.

This new version involves activating the ETCS functions required under European regulations. The locomotive therefore had to be tested to qualify the system and make sure that it functions correctly. Checking the ETCS functionalities is particularly necessary to enable the locomotive to run on the different European rail networks.

Belgorail and Eurailtest have had the opportunity of working together in the past, especially on tests conducted on the HLE18 and EURO 4000 locomotives. These successful partnerships might soon be renewed.

The ETCS signalling system is intended to gradually replace traditional trackside signalling by sending all information back to the driver’s instrument panel. The aim is mainly to standardize the regulations and systems for faster, safer rail traffic.