: Provisional award of Central Safety System to Thales Group

On 10 March 2022, ProRail announced the outcome of the tender procedure for the Central Safety System (CSS) ERTMS; the future digital signalling and speed control system for the Dutch railways. After careful assessment based on predefined criteria, Thales Group emerged as the winning party offering the best value for money. It is a long-term contract (max 37 years) with a maximum value of €420 million.

Provisional award

The provisional award includes a contract for the Central Security System CSS in the infrastructure. For those in the know: this is ERTMS standard Level 2 Baseline 3. Thales takes care of the development, delivery and maintenance of the ERTMS-infra safety objects and systems.

This is only a provisional awarding of the CSS contract, Siemens - the other system provider that was also in the race - has the opportunity to object to the decision in the next 20 days. As long as the objection period is not over, ProRail cannot make any substantive announcements about the contract awarding. 

What is ERTMS?

Dutch railways are equipped with Automatic Train Protection (ATB). This safety system helps drivers to observe signals along the track. The signals and relay boxes in the infrastructure are part of the current train protection system. ATB dates back to the 1950s and needs to be replaced and modernised.

The European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is the new standard for train safety in Europe. ERTMS is an advanced safety system and is installed in the train as well as on the track. Special equipment on board the train communicates automatically with the track and the train control centre. The driver can see how fast he is allowed to drive on a certain route on a screen. The system intervenes automatically when the vehicle is going too fast. In the Netherlands, the Betuweroute, HSL, Hanzelijn and the track between Amsterdam and Utrecht are already equipped with earlier versions of ERTMS. In the future, ERTMS will be the digital platform for our railway network. It is decisive for further innovations and also increases reliability, punctuality and safety.


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