The Signalling Company and CAF Signalling launch open cooperation on Class B Systems

Brussels, 3/12/2020

The Cooperation

The Signalling Company and CAF Signalling launch open cooperation to develop Class B Systems solutions. This first phase allows both companies to provide dual-onboard solutions to their customers in several markets, with reduced time to market and competitive price. Collaboration among competitors known as coopetition is a best practice well known in other industries. CAF Signalling and The Signalling Company stay competitors on the ETCS Solution product, even though they collaborate on Class B Systems, ensuring a true competitive market in Europe. Such collaboration makes even more sense considering that Class B Systems shall be decommissioned in the future. In that sense, they constitute a migration investment. An alliance between two ETCS vendors to reduce time to market and secure such developments shall at the end benefit the operators and infrastructure managers, the passengers and the taxpayers.  

Cooperation best way forward for improved future competition

The implementation of ERTMS in Europe is a prerequisite for game changers as digital capacity management, satellite communication, automatic and autonomous train operations, virtualization, smart asset management and more. The ERTMS Work Plan[1] issued by the DG Move highlighted earlier this year several reasons for the slow pace of ERTMS retrofitting in Europe. One of them is the poor availability of Specific Transmission Modules (STMs) and/or Class B systems. Most of the countries in Europe (with rare exceptions as Switzerland and Luxemburg) require legacy Class B systems installed on the vehicles, on top of ETCS, in order to be authorized to drive. There are two strategies for the ERTMS deployment in Europe:

  1. the dual-trackside strategy, where the infrastructure managers maintain the Class B trackside systems aside of the ETCS trackside system in their whole network, and
  2. the dual-onboard strategy, in which infrastructure managers can progressively replace the Class B trackside systems by ETCS systems.

As demonstrated in the ERTMS Work Plan business case, the dual on-board deployment strategy is instrumental in accelerating ERTMS deployment overall and provides the best business case for ERTMS deployment. This strategy requires to equip the vehicles first with both ETCS and Class B systems, which makes availability of Class B systems crucial. That collaboration is also a joint answer to address another issue raised by Matthias Ruete, the European ERTMS Coordinator, in his ERTMS Work Plan: the structural lack of capacity of the ERTMS Onboard supply market.


An initiative open to other ETCS vendors, IMs and Rus

Both companies insist on the open character of the initiative they start. Discussions are ongoing with other ETCS Solution vendors to invite them to join this Class B Systems open cooperation, but railway undertakings or infrastructure managers are also welcome to join.  


Both parties intend to demonstrate the results of their cooperative effort at INNOTRANS 2022.

End of the press release

About The Signalling Company

We are building a better ETCS onboard solution, to make the signalling system of the future cost-effective, flexible and future-proof.

The Signalling Company is the result of a joint-venture between two Belgian companies: ERTMS Solutions, an industry leader in railway testing, maintenance and systems integration, and Lineas, the largest private rail freight operator in Europe.

About CAF Signalling

CAF Signalling, technological subsidiary of CAF Group, is devoted to the development, design, manufacture and maintenance of Railway Signalling Systems, providing wholescale signalling solutions for infrastructures and rolling stock.

Contact info:

Stanislas PINTE, CEO