The scheme will contribute to making railway systems more interoperable in the EU without unduly distorting competition.
In October 2019, the Netherlands notified the Commission of their plans to support the upgrade of 99 cross-border freight locomotives with the newest European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) on-board equipment.
ERTMS is a safety system that ensures the compliance by trains with speed restrictions and signalling status.
This system is expected to enable the creation of a seamless European railway system, and increase the safety and competitiveness of the European rail sector.
The EU Implementing Regulation on the ERTMS European deployment plan requires that about 30% to 40% of the so-called European Core Network Corridors should be equipped with ERTMS by 2023.
To meet these requirements, the Netherlands plans to deploy the latest version of ERTMS on a large share of its core national railway network, which is part of the European Core Network Corridors.
Consequently, the owners of the locomotives, who invested in the retrofitting of their freight locomotives with former versions of the ERTMS on-board equipment in the past, will now need to upgrade the existing equipment to ensure interoperability with the latest version of the ERTMS and will have to face significant costs.
The public support will take the form of direct grants to the owners of the locomotives, to be used for the prototyping and serial upgrades of the equipment.
The public support by the Dutch state will be complemented by grants for a total of €23.8 million financed through the Connecting Europe Facility.
The Commission concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules. ■
A large-scale blocking pattern over North America is leading to a series of upper level disturbances tracking across the southern tier and off the East Coast this weekend, while a robust ridge of high pressure forms over the North Central U.S, and southern Canada.