The objective of the HAROP project is to create harmonised radio operating procedures in order to achieve uniform GSM-R usage in the EU 27. The Functional Description of the system and the technical complements of the rules have been produced by the HAROP’s members in 2006.
Due to limitations in harmonising rules between the different railways involved in the process, the project has been closed in 2007 but contact is being made between experts as part of the “Operations Network of Knowledge”.
ERTMS, the European Rail Traffic Management System, is the new rail management system for Europe which combines the European Train Control System (ETCS) with GSM-R. The first high speed line using ERTMS, enabling interoperability throughout the European rail network, went into use between Naples and Rome, and is already being extended to Florence. By the end of 2007, as well as Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland, there were projects operating for high speed lines in France, the Netherlands and Belgium.
GSM-R uses the GSM technology, but the specialised requirements for harmonised railway operation, in particular for high-speed trains, means that applications have to use the GSM system in a specific way.
Harmonisation of railways - it is an key result for the further improvement of European infrastructure. Harmonisation of telecommunications in railway operation, with the goal of full interoperability, is a important element. An harmonised interoperable system in Europe is expected to open the way to global harmonisation.
The GSM-R system continues to spread to ever wider geographical areas. During 2006 it was adopted, among other places, in Saudi Arabia and Israel in the Middle East. In the Far East it has extended into India and China, where networks are being implemented; there are now three lines up and running and a huge development programme is planned for coming years. Australia is considering GSM-R and in North Africa Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco are adopting the system. In South America, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil are looking into the ERTMS as a possible global system for their rail operation.
In a significant breakthrough in the PMR market, one of the major public operators in Germany is now introducing a PMR service using GSM-R features.
The European authorities have selected GSM-R as the transmission technology. This is defined in the European Directive on High Speed Train Interoperability and by other forthcoming European Directives for railways (including the European Directive on Conventional Lines interoperability), with standardisation being a key to achieving an harmonized solution.