Dutch railway company ProRail has awarded a contract to France-based Thales for the delivery of axle counting systems for new European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) railway lines.

The contract, valued at $112.85 (€100m), will continue for a maximum of eight years.

Nearly 600km of track will be installed with ERTMS, as well as the Generic ASsenTel system (GAST)-ERTMS axle counting system.

The final delivery of axle counters is projected to take place in 2032, followed by maintenance services of 25 years.

ProRail CEO John Voppen said: “Until recently, ERTMS was a dot on the horizon. I’m glad we’re moving forward now. Preparations for the introduction are now in full swing. At ProRail, we are happy to work for this together with and for the rail sector.

“With the contract for the axle counting system, we are taking another great step on the path to tomorrow.”

Thales Huizen general manager John Alfrink added: “Safety is the common thread in all our solutions. We are proud that with our axle counters we contribute to the safety of the Dutch railways. With the digitisation of the railways and the increasing congestion on the tracks, ERTMS is indispensable.”

ProRail aims to swap the existing ATB system with digital signalling system ERTMS, which calls for several new axle counters.

As a ‘modern’ form of train detection, an axle counting system sums up the number of wheel axles of trains that arrive and depart a section.

As a result, it helps understand whether a segment is free of trains or engaged.

Last month, Egyptian National Railway (ENR) signed a framework agreement with Thales to modernise signalling and telecommunication and upgrade tracks.