26 May 2012

U.S. Supplier Enters ERTMS Market

In a move that amounts to a clear acknowledgement of the increasing worldwide supremacy of the ERTMS ("European" Railway Traffic Management System) technology standard, General Electric Transportation Systems recently became the first U.S. signaling supplier to enter the ERTMS market.

GE Transportation Systems is the same company slated to supply the on-board and wayside components of CBOSS, Caltrain's new-fangled train control system that will be paid for with HSR funding while being technically incompatible with the HSR train control system.

One could briefly entertain the illusion that common sense might prevail, and that with a minimum of contractual upheaval CBOSS could evolve into the first U.S. installation of ERTMS, a solution that could eventually be extended to the entire California HSR system.  Unfortunately, in the blinkered world of parochial agency interests, spending money (over $200 million of it for SF - SJ alone!) is a higher aspiration than providing a good technical solution.  Compatibility is for sissies; why do it right when you can do it twice?