Správa železnic, Czech Republic


Although ERTMS is often associated mainly with the issue of introducing interoperability into the railway environment, its importance for the Czech Republic is much more significant. ERTMS/ETCS has an incomparably higher level of functional characteristics and it provides a substantially higher train operation safety compared to our ATP Class B (system LS from the 1950s which is not able to ensure safe supervision whether the train stops before signal at danger or not exceeds the authorized speed). It is a key prerequisite for all further technological development of the railway, its automation and digitalization.

While the GSM-R communication system has been installed and commonly used on the Czech railway infrastructure and on traction vehicles for many years, the ETCS train control system is only now beginning to be intensively put into operation in the Czech Republic.

Further information can be found on the Správa železnic website in Czech.


There is a need to significantly increase safety on the Railway Network in the Czech Republic – the number of passing the signal at danger is continuously increasing, the existing Class B system cannot prevent this to the necessary extent. The reasons for ETCS implementation are mainly:

  • Supervision of speed and other restrictions on the line;
  • Fewer incidents mean increased transport reliability (e.g. elimination of train
    delays on the network caused by incidents and handling their consequences);
  • Lower investment costs due to optimized equipment of lines with ETCS only (reduced costs for implementing parallel systems);
  • With the implementation of ETCS L2 as a part of conventional interlocking
    optimization (referred to as “with benefits”) directly for the exclusive operation
    of trains under ETCS supervision, ETCS can help to increase infrastructure
  • ETCS is a prerequisite for increasing speed on the railways beyond 160 km/h;
  • ETCS brings unification of traffic management principles on conventional lines
    connecting to high-speed lines.

ERTMS implementation strategy is described in the document „Plan of Modern Train Control System on the Czech Railway Network – Implementation of ETCS“. The plan expects ETCS and the introduction of exclusive operation of trains under ETCS supervision until 2040.


ETCS trackside on the Správa železnic infrastructure is based on four main
implementing rules:

  1. TEN-T lines: ETCS L2 Full Supervision and GSM-R (FRMCS in future):
    • lines with high traffic density which need capacity increase and safety:
      ETCS L2 with infrastructure optimization („with benefits“).
    • For future: ETCS L3 hybrid
  2. Important and busy secondary lines (urban, suburban transport):
    • ETCS L2 Full Supervision and GSM-R
  3. Secondary lines with relatively low traffic volumes:
    • ETCS L1 Limited Supervision
  4. Regional lines with very low traffic volumes and low speed:
    • ETCS STOP (principle based on ETCS L1, only trip order in case of

Concepts according to 3 and 4 are intended especially for „last mile“ lines, which are
connected to main lines, but vehicles equipped with OBU ETCS are operated on both.
They are based on ETCS L1, there exist more reasons for this decision:

  • Applicability of LEU with Eurobalises to older interlockings is more technically feasible
  • It is also possible to implement gradually and in smaller areas than RBC (economic reasons)
  • Secondary lines, where solutions based on ETCS L1 is applied, will be equipped with GSM-R in further time horizon

ETCS L1 Limited Supervision is based on application level 1 and focuses only on selected functions (e.g. safe control of not passing of signals at danger, basic speed profile supervision) that are necessary from a safety point of view on the line. The main reason is to simplify the technical design of the trackside part of ETCS and thus reduce investment costs and make a simpler technical solution, for example on lines with low traffic.


Analyses and operational experience have clearly shown that the simultaneous operation of vehicles equipped and not equipped with ETCS:

  • does not allow to achieve an adequate increase in safety;
  • does not allow to eliminate the limitations of the infrastructure capacity;
  • does not reduce the operating costs of the infrastructure manager and carriers, and at the same time discriminates against carriers who have equipped their vehicles with ETCS and devalues their investment by insufficient use of ETCS.

A train without ETCS on the line becomes a threat not only to itself but also to all other trains on the line and in stations. Such simultaneous operation of ETCS and non-ETCS vehicles is also an obstacle to the anticipated increase in speed above 160 km/h. It is therefore necessary to ensure that all vehicles operating on a given line equipped with trackside ETCS are equipped with the mobile part of ETCS. This will establish the so-called exclusive operation of trains under ETCS supervision on the line in question.


ETCS only operation means, that passenger and freight trains must be equipped with ETCS OBU. Up to 2030 RUs estimate the need to equip nearly 700 more existing vehicles with ETCS. Due to safety and operational reasons also „yellow fleet“ vehicles operation on ETCS only lines must be equipped with ETCS OBU. Správa železnic has almost 100 vehicles under tender to equip OBU ETCS till 2025. For newly bought vehicles requirement for ETCS OBU is indispensable.


It is not desirable to install ATP Class B (system LS) any more. The first installation of ATP (on lines which have not been equipped with Class B) will be ERTMS only.

Only in case of interlocking modernization on the line where ETCS only operation has not yet started, ATP Class B could be renewed, but in case the investment project is put in operation more than one year before start of ETCS only operation.