New Danish rail signalling system

Railway in the danish country side

Railway in the danish country side


Torben Arnbjerg-Nielsen

Torben Arnbjerg-Nielsen

Spearhead Director, Rail Systems, Denmark
T: +45 5161 6576

Services we provided

All rail signalling systems in Denmark are being renewed in the coming years. Rail Net Denmark, responsible for operating and developing Danish railways, has chosen the international consortium Ramboll-Atkins-Emch+Berger-Parsons for the job with the biggest Danish consultancy contract to date. 

The introduction of a common European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) throughout Europe aims at improving the connectivity between European cities and capitals and allow for seamless travel within the EU. Denmark will be the first country in Europe to upgrade its entire signalling system to ERTMS at once. Currently, Ramboll is heading the consortium designing and planning the national rollout of the new system.

The winning consortium is to design and plan Denmark's new signalling system—one of the most significant and ambitious infrastructure projects in Europe today.

"Internationally, there is no precedence for an upgrade of an entire country's signalling system. However, the rest of Europe will be taking on similar projects in the coming years, and we are excited to be the first to take on the challenge, in essence setting a standard for how this can be done," says Tonni Christiansen, Director of Rail in Ramboll. In collaboration with Atkins, Emch+Berger and Parsons, Ramboll will carry out consultancy services for the project.

Common European signalling system

The new signalling system will reduce delays and ensure an increased and homogenous high safety level throughout Denmark. It will also allow for high-speed trains and increased capacity on certain lines. The new system will furthermore make precise positioning of the trains easier and hence enable concise passenger updates on delays. 

The common European signalling system ERTMS 2 will be implemented on Denmark's long distance railway network, while the so-called S-banen in the Copenhagen area will have a specific city-system. International trains in Europe are often required to operate up to six different control systems in order to be able to cross borders without delay. Once the ERTMS is in place, however, it will be much easier for these trains to cross European borders.

Digitalised railway communication systems

The oldest, current relay interlocking systems dates back to the 1930s whereas others are from the 1950s and 60s. These old systems are difficult to operate. Also, they are based on an obsolete technology for which it is difficult to get spare parts and support services. 

As the new ERTMS signalling system uses GSM-R technology for data communication between the train and the signal control systems, all existing analogue radio systems on the Danish railway network have to be replaced with a new digital GSM-R system. As an additional project, Ramboll’s telecom division is to design new towers as well as redesign existing towers along Denmark’s long distance railway network, and the S-train railway network in the Copenhagen area. This project includes nearly 400 individual sub-projects.

1,000 new jobs

The consortium will be responsible for solving some of the most challenging issues involved in the implementation, including technical feasibility, project management, planning and project-economy.

"During the implementation of the project, there will in peak periods be more than 100 experts on the job. And we will undoubtedly have the most technically interesting work-environment within railway control-systems in Europe," says Tonni Christiansen.

This historic contract will influence related industries favourably, creating at least 1,000 jobs in Denmark. Together, Ramboll, Atkins, Emch+Berger og Parsons have 35,000 experts, and the partners have worked on some of the world's most advanced transportation and signal-control projects.

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Mobilising Public Transport

Read more about our rail engineering and consultancy services in the PDF (1.73 MB).


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