With European rail networks’ expansion a transport priority in the Union, Brussels has just unveiled a plan to spend five billion euros over the next ten years to harmonise train traffic signalling systems. There are around twenty now. European Rail Traffic Management (ERTMS) will allow each train’s position to be tracked by satellite, calculating best speed and automatic slowing down. Between Paris and Brussels, the high-speed Thalys takes a path governed by seven signal systems. The potential for complications incurs expense and even accident risks. ERTMS lines will appear first in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany this year and next. French, Greek and British projects will have to wait till 2007 and 2008. Upwards of 20,000 kilometres of track needs equipping. The major corridors will come first. The money will come out of the EU’s research budget.
EU rail signals 5 billion euro harmonisation