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Low Cost Satellite Based Train Location System for Signalling and Train Protection for Low Density Railway Lines

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Rail icon
Transport policies
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

LOCOPROL provides an ideal solution filling the gap between the very low cost traditional solutions characterised by a very poor level of functionality and safety, and the very expensive ETCS based solution adapted for the main lines.


The objectives of this project are: 

  • to define a new multi-technology location system based on satellite positioning combined with fail-safe on-board track mapping and interlocking; 
  • to study and prove its application to ERTMS/ETCS; 
  • to study and prove its short term applicability in Low Density Traffic Lines; 
  • to study its applicability in order to increase track side workers protection.

The project was divided into five main Work Packages:

  1. Definition of user needs
  2. System specifications
  3. System Development
  4. System Safety Validation
  5. Evaluation

The early part of the work involved consultation with stakeholders regarding the requirements and specification of the system. Work was then undertaken to develop software and then to test this on-train in 3 sites. The final stages of the work involved the evaluation of these tests and some modification of the software and overall system.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Research (DG Research)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The main results of the project are as follows:

  1. A new multi-technology satellite based train location system based on satellite positioning combined with fail-safe, on-board track mapping & interlocking. 
  2. A new control & command system including a token-based simplified interlocking system and positive train detection. 
  3. Interoperability with ERTMS – Integration of satellite based odometry in ERTMS/ETCS onboard architecture. 
  4. End user interface. 
  5. A fail-safe worker terminal (specification). 
  6. A tool for geographical database creation for railway lines.

Policy implications

The project has developed an innovative cost-effective satellite based fail-safe train location system as the core of a train protection, control and command system, thereby achieving a significant cost reduction by concentrating more intelligence on-board. The proposed innovations have achieved a significant reduction of the cost aiming to short term applications for low-density traffic railway lines. The developed system enhances and extends the ERTMS/ETCS system, currently covering high-density lines, to low density lines.

The multiple tests experienced in the three test sites have proven that: 

  • The LOCOPROL approach concerning the use of a positive train detection associated to a satellite based train location is viable and can be used in practical applications under normal operating conditions on low traffic density railway lines. 
  • The odometric module calculating speed and acceleration based on satellite train location can be easily integrated in a standard ERTMS/ETCS on board unit to be used on LDTL lines, and in combination with other sensors on high density lines as well. 
  • The above mentioned train location & speed module can straightforwardly be integrated in an electronic token based interlocking system and thus constitute a complete low cost safety signalling system specifically adapted to low density traffic railway lines. 
  • The same system ca


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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