Clarifications regarding the TBL1+ driver assistance system - 08/06/2016

Infrabel has not received authorisation from the Public Prosecutor responsible to disclose information about the inquiry under way. Infrabel will therefore not provide any information likely to pervert the course of justice. Following the information that appeared in the press, Infrabel nonetheless feels that some clarifications should be made regarding the TBL1+ driver assistance system.

  1. The rail signalling system in Belgium is a lineside system of lights. This system therefore relies on absolute compliance by drivers with the light signals along railway lines.
  2. In order to help drivers to meet their responsibility, a number of driver assistance systems have been installed. These driver assistance systems include the old Memor/Crocodile system and the TBL1+ system, installation of which was stepped up in the wake of the Buizingen accident. These driver assistance systems are not intended to replace lineside signalling.
  3. Within the framework of the Special Parliamentary Committee (rail safety) set up after the accident at Buizingen, Infrabel undertook to provide a TBL1+ driver assistance system. The effective coverage of this system was established while taking account of objective criteria to quantify a theoretical risk. As stated to the Chamber on 19 October 2011 during the presentation of the ETCS master plan, Infrabel pledged to roll out 99.9% effective coverage.
  4. This effective coverage was based on equipping certain signals that protect the most sensitive points of our network.  About 7,500 of Belgium's 10,700 rail signals have now been equipped with TBL1+.
  5. TBL1+ is a first step in the implementation of ETCS across the whole network by 2022. ETCS, which is to provide maximal security on the rail network, is, unlike TBL1+, not a driver assistance system; it is a safety system that will be the new signalling system and therefore the new standard with which drivers must comply.
  6. Installation of ETCS on the Belgian network is progressing at the rate pledged by Infrabel before the rail safety Committee. At the present time, this signalling system has been installed on 1,228 km of mainlines on the conventional network and on high-speed lines, i.e. 19% of the network. Belgium is now the European leader in terms of the length of track fitted with ETCS on the conventional network.

Since the tragic accident on Sunday evening, Infrabel has been giving its full support to the ongoing inquiry and respects the secrecy that this entails. Infrabel therefore regrets the disclosure of information about the inquiry that might lead to hasty conclusions.