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Railway Certification and Independent Safety Assessment

N-7465 Trondheim,
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SINTEF has more than 20 years’ experience with independent safety assessments of signalling and interlocking systems for railway transport. Examples are the Gardermoen high-speed line to Oslo Airport, the Roslagen line in Stockholm and the Öresund Link between Copenhagen and Malmö. SINTEF has also assessed the automatic train protection (ATP) solutions for the Kuala Lumpur Monorail and for Hamersley Iron in Australia. Our principal customers are railway authorities and suppliers of safety systems and system components, including software.

The basis for safety assessment and verification activities has been EN 50126, EN 50128 and EN 50129. These European standards have become international standards IEC 62278, IEC 62279 resp. IEC 62425 and are therefore now applicable also outside Europe.

SINTEF has a general scope to work with technology for new products and technical solutions for a wide variety of applications. We are also in a position to provide certifications according to IEC 61508, i.e. we are not limited to the above-mentioned standards.

In the railway sector the focus is on safety and interoperability in signalling systems, including systems for ATP, automatic train control (ATC), interlocking systems and telecommunication systems. This experience is utilised in assessing interoperability in modern rail traffic management systems (ERTMS, ETCS and STM).

Centre for railway certification

The railway sector is undergoing changes in Europe. The target is to increase the proportion of railway transport by 100% to 150% within a short period. To achieve this, work is going on to remove all technical and procedural barriers in order to have a borderless and effective railway network throughout Europe. This requires new technical / technological solutions and simplified procedures at all levels.

The European Union has set the framework for this process with its directives for the interoperability of the high-speed and conventional railways. Within this regime, Notified Bodies are established to assess and certify interoperability; their certificates are valid throughout the European Economic Area. SINTEF is qualified and authorised to perform such certifications for all sub-systems and products for which the underlying EU directives apply.

SINTEF has established the Centre for Railway Certification (“Senter for Jernbanesertifisering” – SJS) as its operational implementation of the notified body.

Certification is performed in conformance with the EU Directives 96/48/EC (high speed) and 2001/16/EC (conventional rail). In this area the future focus will include ERTMS, ECTS and STM types of systems.

Multi-technological railway competence

SINTEF is a major European non-profit R&D foundation. As such, we cover all areas of technology including usability and sociological aspects. In the railway sector, this competence includes civil and environmental engineering, materials technology, safety, logistics and decision support, energy systems, and information and communication technology.

For the purposes of safety assessments and certifications, the competence at SINTEF is applicable to the control command and signalling, infrastructure, energy, rolling stock, maintenance and telecommunication subsystems.

Reliability, availability, maintainability, safety (RAMS)

It is important to consider safety in its context, including reliability, availability and maintainability (the RAMS concept). A sound safety-based solution should be a solution with high RAM performance.

Today, the communication system for train movement commands is being modernised. Old technologies are being replaced with modern, often computer-based technologies based upon open source systems. Where appropriate, cabling is replaced by radio-based communication systems. In this context, security should also be taken into account. As an assessor of the GSM-R solution for Norway, SINTEF has studied the security implications of using open communication systems for safety-related communication purposes.

Recent projects in railway safety assessment

  • ERTMS / STM – SINTEF is engaged as an independent safety assessor (ISA) for the development of the specific interface module (STM) between the European ETCS solution and the Swedish / Norwegian ATC type of infrastructure
  • Botnia line – for the Botnia line in Sweden, SINTEF is engaged as an independent safety assessor as well as a notified body for the assessment of ERTMS interoperability
  • X40 / X 60 – for the new trains to be delivered to Sweden, SINTEF is engaged as an independent safety assessor for brakes, bogies and doors
  • Copenhagen Metro – for the extension of the Metro line, SINTEF is engaged as a safety manager and analyst for the electrotechnical systems
  • THR allocation – function-oriented methods for allocating tolerable hazard rates (THR) to safety critical functions in signalling systems
  • Safe communication in open systems – methods for security administration of communication systems to maintain safety properties


N-7465 Trondheim

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SINTEF Information and Communication Technology

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