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Eliminating signalling system errors

Norske tog is undertaking digital improvements in order to increase the capacity, safety and punctuality on the rail network and to reduce signalling errors.


The well-known signalling errors have over a long period of time been a challenge for the Norwegian rail network, to a great frustration for the passengers. Norske tog is now undertaking digital improvements in order to increase the capacity, safety and punctuality on the rail network and to reduce signalling errors.

In 2018, Norske tog entered an agreement on a new digital signalling system. Together with Bane NOR, Norske tog is now upgrading to the European Rail Traffic Management System – (ERTMS). Bane NOR has the superior responsibility for the new signalling system. However, a part of the equipment will be installed onboard Norske tog’s trains, a part of the upgrade that Norske tog is responsible for.

(Picture: Thomas Haugersveen. Norske tog’s annual report 2018. p. 66)

ERTMS is a common European system initiated by the EU. The system is developed to standardise railway signalling and traffic management across the European rail network. In the long term, ERTMS will provide a common system that also makes it easier for trains to cross country borders.

The new digital signalling system has several improvements compared to the current signalling system:

    • Lower maintenance costs related to the signalling and safety construction.
    • Improved and faster information to the train operators.
    • Fewer signalling errors that impacts the train traffic. The new system will enable more reliable and punctual rail traffic.
    • Increased automation will reduce probability for human errors and therefore increase the safety.
    • The automation of the system is also paving the way for self-driving trains in the future.

    The ERTMS technology has already been tested on the Eastern section of the Østfold Railway. The experience gained and feedback received bode well for what we can expect as the signalling system is rolled out.

    Norske tog will in the coming years invest around 1,1 billion NOK on onboard equipment to adapt its trains to the new digital signalling system. By 2026, all Norwegian trains will have the ERTMS onboard equipment installed. By 2030, ERTMS will cover the entire Norwegian rail network.

    New ambitions

    With the new ERTMS system, Norske tog has secured an important agreement of digitalising the onboard signalling system, but new digital initiatives are to be launched.

    Norske tog wants to procure a digital tool that oversees train condition data – Online Condition Monitoring (OCM). An Online Condition Monitoring system will provide instant condition status on the trains – and will provide useful insight that can contribute to improve the passenger service offering.

    OCM will also provide better knowledge for improved operation and future acquisitions of new vehicles. The data material can also be used to diagnose and notify upcoming errors.

    The OCM-system will in the long term also give Norske tog the opportunity to provide the operators, such as Vy and Go-Ahead, unique vehicle condition insight. This information will reduce the number of errors and increase the punctuality – both in favour of the passengers. In total, the system will provide a better and more stable railway for the invested money.

    Digitalisation for a better railway

    Norske tog wants to offer trains with new technological solutions to deliver the best possible offering for train passengers all over the country. To deliver on these objectives, Norske tog is continually pay attention to new market innovations, both when acquiring new trains, but also when it comes to implementing new solution in existing trains.

    Increased commitment to advanced technology will contribute to a safer and more punctual Norwegian railway. In Norske tog’s technology strategy, the most important objectives are to ensure reliable vehicle, a high safety level and to reduce the impact on the environment. Fleet standardisation and effective maintenance is also parts of the objectives in the technology strategy.

    Norske tog shall be a facilitator for operators to offer the best train service possible. In this way, Norske tog help people to choose to travel with public transport.

    You can read more about the new ERTMS- and OCM-systems in the 2018 annual report.