Railway undertakings and fleet owners can apply for grants of fitting ERTMS into their rolling stock through the CEF Programme (Regulation EU 2021/1153). The level of financial support depends on the type of fitment (new fit, upgrade or retrofit) and whether it concerns the first of a series (prototype) or a serial implementation. The national and provincial governments sometimes subsidise ERTMS, but only if this fits within the (European) regulations and laws on state support.
Why is an upgrade required?
Freight locomotives equipped with an older ERTMS version than Baseline 3, Level 2 can soon no longer run on converted railway sections. That is why vehicle owners must convert the freight locomotives and upgrade them to ERTMS Baseline 3, Level 2. As stated above, railway undertakings and owners of rolling stock can apply for a grants under the EU’s CEF Programme.
Assistance with grant application
We provide support with the application for grants through the European CEF programme and make financing agreements with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Afterwards, we facilitate and monitor the project.
Currently two CEF projects are in place consisting of 8 prototypes and 139 serial upgrades. Based on the prototypes, we can convert another 96 vehicles at a later stage. This leads to a total of 243 Baseline 3 engines.
To be eligible to receive funding from CEF, these two projects must have been completed by end 2024. Under the new CEF II (2021-2027) program new applications are possible. EU support is based on unit prices.
Financial support necessary
The profit margins are limited in the rail freight market. Because the costs for ERTMS applications are sizeable, it is difficult to make investments. In the past 10 to 15 years, parties have already invested in ERTMS for which the net result was negative.
Without significant financial support, most holders and owners would not invest in ERTMS. CEF support will aid in making the financial balance for these parties more positive.
First system designs in early 2022
All projects are now in their preliminary phases. For some, a full pre-engagement process via the ERA One-Stop Shop has already been completed. The first system designs are expected in the first quarter of 2022. After that, lab and field tests will be performed. For all projects, we will provide vehicle type authorisation (VA) or authorisation to place on the market (APOM).