Thales has secured a contract from the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency (FTIA) to design, supply, deploy and test the signalling and European Train Control System (ETCS) L2 test systems for the Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina line.

The company has already supplied the new signalling solutions for Finland.

Following this installation, the Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina line, which links the ports of Hamina and Kotka, will become the first ETCS L2 test track in the country.

The new signalling systems will be used commercially from 2023.

As part of this project, FTIA will examine the radio networks delivered by commercial telecom operators for communicating ETCS data between the rolling stock and the Radio Block Centre.

After the completion of the testing, FTIA will commence its preparation for the launch of the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) according to EU standards.

With this test track, Finland aims to support the development of a radio network-based ETCS.

This project will also provide an opportunity to enhance the capabilities of Finnish signalling system experts at ETCS L2.

During the post-signature specification stage, both entities will jointly define, develop and design the specific content of the ETCS section.

FTIA projects division director Esa Sirkiä said: “The Kouvola-Kotka-Hamina railway is a very important route for Finnish freight traffic. We will finally get the safety of a modern signalling system on the track. At the same time, we take a leap towards the future by building the ETCS test track.”

FTIA Finnish ERTMS programme project manager Juha Lehtola said: “Finland is a pioneer in the digitalisation of railways. With the help of the upcoming test track, we are taking a significant leap towards the modern radio network-based ETCS system that Finland is seeking. The system is based on 5G technology and it aims to be compatible with FRMCS. I’m sure that test results will arouse great interest all over Europe.”

Last month, Thales introduced its new Distributed Intelligent Video Analytics (DIVA) solution for facilitating crowd management at railway stations and on-board trains.