In the Digirail project, the train control system will be renewed. Finland’s current train control system (junien kulunvalvontajärjestelmä, JKV) is approaching the end of its life cycle. The service life of the system will expire around the end of the 2020s. For Finland, the next logical step is to move to a European railway traffic management system (ERTMS) and a modern radio-based ETCS (European Train Control System). The recommended radio network is the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS). Therefore, Finland’s future ERTMS solution would be a radio-based ETCS implemented without visible signals and with a closely associated FRMCS radio network.

The regulation also obliges to renew the system, as Finland, as an EU Member State, must update the systems to be compatible with European systems. The Trans-European Transport Network, TEN-T, must be equipped with ERTMS in order to guarantee interoperability. The new railway alignments also require a new type of train control, as stipulated by the EU.

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SOLUTION: Radio network-based train control

The train control solution being built in Finland is a modern radio network-based ETCS implemented without visible signals, which will:

  • provide Finland with a sustainable technological development base
  • enable an increase in infrastructure capacity
  • improve the punctuality of train services and enable an increase in the number of trains and passengers on the existing railway network
  • minimise the impact and duration of disruptions
  • provide Finland with a sustainable technological development base
  • enable an increase in infrastructure capacity
  • improve the punctuality of train services and enable an increase in the number of trains and passengers on the existing railway network 
  • minimise the impact and duration of disruptions 
  • improve the safety of level crossings and trackwork.

In other words, the modernisation of the train control system is fundamental to safe and smooth train traffic in the future. The Digirail enables higher railway traffic accessibility and an improved level of service, which both increase the attractiveness of rail transport. Digirail is a project that makes this modernisation possible.

The radio network will be based on the joint European FRMCS (Future Railway Mobile Communication System). 

ENVIRONMENT: Positive impact on curbing climate change

Finland is committed to cutting its transport emissions in half by 2030. The market share of rail transport is approximately 6% for passenger transport and 27% for freight transport. Rail transport is an environmentally friendly mode of transport, accounting for less than 1% of transport emissions.

For its part, Digirail will enable rail traffic to increase its market share in both passenger and freight transport and thus significantly reduce transport emissions. Increasing the share of rail transport is also an EU-wide goal, which is strongly reflected, for example, in the European Green Deal. Digirail is a tool for curbing climate change.

CAPACITY: The railway network is in need of capacity

It is predicted that the demand for train traffic will grow significantly, especially on the main line and the city rail links in Southern Finland. The current capacity, however, will not be sufficient with the current supply. In some places, the existing railway network would have the potential to significantly increase the number of trains. Digirail could be used to provide additional capacity, and in some places, it could even be increased by up to 30% with a suitable traffic structure. Digirail would not only serve Southern Finland, but it would cover the entire railway network. Digirail will offer vitality to the whole of Finland.

PASSENGERS: A better service level for passengers

When digitalisation is implemented, trains will run on schedule and at frequent intervals. The journey will also be smoother and more comfortable, as there are fewer disturbances and their effects are not so far-reaching, as they can be limited to be more localised if necessary. The train is a convenient place to take advantage of the wide range of digital services available. The journey can be conveniently continued by transferring to a different mode of transport. For its part, Digirail will enable the travel chain to work seamlessly.

TECHNOLOGY: The digital platform of the future will create opportunities

A modern radio network-based system enables the deployment of future technologies. The easy-to-upgrade system and the development of interlockings to a new digital level enable dynamic traffic management in both passenger and freight transport. Thanks to data, the maintenance of rolling stock and the network can be predicted, which will bring cost savings. The radio network-based solution is also key to the digitalisation of logistics and automatic train traffic, as well as necessary for the implementation of new railway projects.

SAFETY: Safer traffic than ever before

Determining traffic restrictions on the rail network in real time will be much faster with a radio network-based system and will therefore improve the conditions for safe train traffic. There will also be other

benefits that increase safety. For example, the waiting time of road users at level crossings can be minimised, enabling cost-effective safety systems at level crossings, such as train detection, additional services and up-to-date communications to improve the safety experienced by passengers. In addition, it will make it possible to better ensure the safe movement of employees on the track during trackwork.

The development and verification phase is underway

In the development and verification phase, it will be ensured that the Digirail project will achieve the best possible outcome in the desired ETCS-level capability by utilising the FRMCS solution, a new kind of relocation method and
level 2 of automatic train operations.

In the development and verification phase, the aim is to prepare seamless specifications for the Digirail system entity, so that the solutions have been tested to be functional and efficient procurement can be initiated for the implementation phase.

Digirail is a significant investment
in rail transport
Digirail aims to make train services
safe and efficient
Digirail will be used for testing new solutions
that rely on 5G-based data transfer
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