The current system protecting the passage of trains is nearing the end of its life cycle, and the plan in the Digirail project is to renew the system on the entire Finnish railway network. Fintraffic Railway Ltd. and Siemens Mobility have signed contract on supplying a Centralised Safety System on Digirail’s first commercial track section on the Lielahti-Rauma/Pori track line. Thanks to the agreement, Digirail will now be moving towards concreteness.

The key components in the procurement of safety equipment are a new interlocking and Radio Block Centre. They are the basic pillars of the system on top of which the Digirail functionalities can be built.

“Digirail is now starting to take a more concrete shape; from plans to action. The agreed procurement will lay the foundation for the future of railways in Finland as a whole. The recently closed procurement of a Centralised  Safety System means the beginning of a long development phase where all technical railway systems will undergo changes. The first commercial track section is a significant part of this development entity. We now have the opportunity to add functionality on the track section to increase the efficient use of the tracks. The benefits will be scaled later along the entire railway network,” says Jari Pylvänäinen, Project Director at Digirail.

“We are very pleased that Fintraffic and Digirail have chosen Siemens Mobility as their partner for the implementation of Finland’s first ETCS track. Digirail will bring along more capacity and increased accuracy as well as minimising disruptions, improving safety and ensuring sustainable development on the railway network. Fintraffic and Siemens Mobility will be working together to shape the future of railway traffic,” says Jari Jussila, Technical Director at Siemens Mobility.

Work on the track section to start immediately – to be completed in 2027

In practice, the renewal in the first phase comprises of 190 kilometres of track on which the new Control Command and Signalling system will be built. The Lielahti-Rauma-Pori track section was chosen as the target for the first phase, as it includes both passenger and freight traffic. The goal is that the construction of the first phase will be completed in autumn 2025 and the train control system covering the entire track section will be deployed in 2027.

Finland a pioneer in Europe

With the Digirail project, the aim on the railways is to move towards a radio-based train control system, and the deployment of a new Control Command and Signalling system will create the basis for a historical system reform.

Finland will be the first country in Europe to utilise existing commercial radio networks, rather than a designated radio network for train traffic. By utilising existing networks, Finland does not need to build a separate railway specific radio network when moving towards a European train control system. This solution will save hundreds of millions of euros.

“This is a significant step for the development of railway traffic and Digirail as a project. Digirail is a necessity investment without which the future of railways would be at stake, and at the same time it is a railway development project that enables a significant digital leap and a more extensive utilisation of data to develop railway traffic. Railway traffic is the transport means of the future and investment in its development is essential so that we can continue to offer a transport option in Finland that is sustainable and meets the needs of the customers. Digirail and its development steps are built on the cooperation of the railway operators towards a more accurate, reliable, safer and cost-efficient means of transport,” says Sanna Järvenpää, CEO at Fintraffic Railway Ltd.