Safer rail transport with ERTMS

The Netherlands is introducing a new rail safety system: the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The transition to the new system will take place gradually, so as to keep inconvenience to passengers to a minimum.

New rail safety system

The Dutch railways include some of the world’s most intensively used stretches of track. The current control and safety system meets the existing requirements, but as it dates back to a time when fewer trains were using the tracks, it is rapidly aging and offers little scope for the future.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment is therefore replacing the system with a new one, the ERTMS. The government has budgeted €2.5 billion for ERTMS installation and maintenance.

ERTMS will help enhance rail safety, improve the railways’ interoperability and reliability, and increase their capacity and speed.

ERTMS for safe train travel

ERTMS offers the following advantages in terms of rail safety:

  • Drivers of ERTMS-equipped trains see on a screen the maximum speed allowed on a given stretch of track.
  • ERTMS keeps trains from exceeding the maximum speed, and automatically applies the brakes when necessary.
  • ERTMS gives a train’s exact location and allows drivers to see on a screen if the track ahead are free.
  • ERTMS decreases the likelihood of a train’s passing a red signal.

Like the current system, ERTMS only works when both tracks and trains are properly equipped.

Rail lines that are already ERTMS-equipped

The following Dutch rail lines are already ERTMS-equipped:

  • the Betuwe line and Port of Rotterdam line;
  • the High Speed Rail Link South;
  • the Hanze line and the tracks between Amsterdam and Utrecht (which are also equipped with the current safety system).

ERTMS is being tested on the tracks between Amsterdam and Utrecht.

Installing ERTMS in the Netherlands

Between 2016 and 2028 the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment will install ERTMS on many of the tracks in the urban western Netherlands, as the Rutte II government decided on 11 April 2014. Different scenarios for installing ERTMS in the Netherlands were thoroughly investigated before that decision was taken.

International passenger and freight train lines will also be equipped with ERTMS, so that trains can run easily from one country to the next without changing safety systems. The system has already been installed on 20% of the trains. Between now and 2022, ERTMS will be installed on all Dutch trains, so they can run flexibly on ERTMS-equipped tracks.

ERTMS is being installed on the main rail lines throughout the European Union.

ERTMS technical specifications

The technical specification of ERTMS have been laid down in European Commission Decision 2012/88/EU. Companies have developed ERTMS systems of the basis of these specifications.

Kick-off meeting for ERTMS market consultation

On 9 July a kick-off meeting was held for the market consultation of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) programme at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. At the meeting, market parties were given a presentation on various subjects, including tendering and contracting strategies, system integration, transport systems, equipment and infrastructure. The attendees were also given a number of market consultation documents. If you have any questions about the meeting, please contact

For more information about ERTMS

For more information, go to the ERTMS website (in Dutch).