TUV SUD lays tracks for train companies eyeing Europe

As the flame of industrial upgrading and going global burns bright in China, global testing, certification, inspection solutions provider TUV SUD awarded China’s first technical specifications for interoperability certification in railway signaling equipment to a domestic manufacturer.

Authorized by the European Union’s agency for railways, the certificate was awarded to China Railway Signal and Communication, the country’s railway control systems provider, for its Radio Block Center system. CRSC gained certification of TSI for its command and control system.

Meeting EU standards

Specifications for each subsystem or part of the subsystem are covered in a bid to meet essential requirements and ensure the interoperability of high-speed and conventional rail systems within the European Union.

Professor Axel Stepken, chairman of TUV SUD’s board of management, said CRSC’s successful passing of the certification assessment indicates that the technology and management of products from CRSC meet the most complete and strictest standards of theEU.

Germany-based TUV SUD has one of the world’s largest professional teams in train transit testing, inspection and certification, particularly in functional safety. It also sets certain relevant standards in the industry.

Stepken said the types of assessments and requirements in the field of rail transit differ bycountry and region. Certification incorporates a wide range of safety requirements and testing.

The RBC, as core equipment of high-speed railways’ operations and control system, is the “guardian”, ensuring the safety of trains moving at high speeds. It can collect the status and data of all vehicles and tracks along a route.

When the trains are in operation, it can continuously monitor the situation in the distance, forinstance, and whether or not other trains and equipment are functioning properly.

The RBC can then report the data in a timely manner to avoid accidents such as derailments and crashes. Although the design and supply of high-speed rail control systems was once monopolized by a handful of multinational giants in Europe, a few domestic rail transit companies, with CRSC as their representative, have now successfully achieved autonomy in RBC research and development.

Bilateral efforts

Stepken said experts from both China and TUV SUD havecommunicated and worked with the CRSC’s project team. They havecompleted all assessments within an impressively short time. They havealso conducted on-site audits in several factories of CRSC.

Based on years of experience in the development and engineering ofhigh-speed rail signal systems, CRSC studied more than 20 relevantEuropean standards in a short time and collected a large amount offavorable data.

“Earning this certification indicates that Chinese companies such asCRSC have fulfilled the technical requirements to meet internationalstandards, and that their work can be applied directly to European high-speed rail projects,” said Stepken.

Prior to this, TUV SUD had issued TSI certifications in Europe for avariety of products and systems including locomotives, infrastructure, power supply systems and signaling control systems.

“It has also promoted China’s exports of high-speed rail technology andproducts to the world, which aligns with the country’s Belt and RoadInitiative,” said Xue Weiqing, manager of TUV SUD’s Rail SignalingDepartment.

The infrastructure, trade and services network proposed by the Chinesegovernment in 2013 envisions a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Maritime Silk Road covering about 4.4 billion people in morethan 60 countries and regions in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Thanks to its rapidly expanding technologies in high-speed railwaydevelopment, rail vehicle manufacturing, infrastructure and signalingsystem providers in China have been keen to team up with other playersto compete with foreign rivals to build railways in overseas markets. They have established a presence in more than 100 countries andregions.

Joining the elite

All cross-border trains within the EU need to meet the requirements of the TSI. To ensureoperational safety, their related products must be certified by institutions recognized by theEU.

In the past, operational control systems of such high-speed rail trains have traditionally beenvery high-end products. Only a few global companies have obtained the necessarycertifications to manufacture such products.

At present, only a handful of international rail transit giants in Europe and Canada, such asFrance’s Alstom, Thales, Germany’s Siemens, Spain’s Ansaldo and Canada’s Bombardier, have obtained certifications for similar products.

In terms of technology, RBC manufactured by CRSC enjoys the same advanced position inglobal markets as other international giants. CRSC currently has operating experience ofmore than 20,000 kilometers.

Its high-speed rail control system was developed through more than 30,000 test scenarios soas to provide solutions for several different needs.

With the nation’s strategy of going global, China’s RBC has attained TSI certification from theEU, and is now poised to penetrate overseas markets, especially the European market.

“Apart from obtaining the certification, the RBC equipment, which has been developed and manufactured by CRSC alone, has become the first high-end railway signaling product in China to get the European visa,” said Feng Hao, a rail transportation researcher at the National Development and Reform Commission.

“From a long-term perspective, this will provide guidance and set up an encouraging example for products and enterprises seeking TSI certifications, and eliminate technical barriers hindering China’s railway products from expanding into the global market. This has laid a solid technical foundation for the nation’s going-global strategy on railroads,” said Feng.