Search form

The 3InSat demonstration project will develop, test and verify a new satellite-based subsystem, based on the ASTS ERTMS system, for allowing the SIL 4 train localization function at Signalling System Level by using GNSS data. The proposed solution would be based on the ERTMS standard requirements. The requirements will be driven by the market needs and by the accreditation and certification strategy.

The 3InSat project has the objective to introduce a train monitoring and control system, based on the state of the art European and international regulations, adopting satellite based navigation and telecommunications systems. In such a way, the investments required along the rail tracks and the related maintenance activities will be minimised. This investment reduction will enable efficient and safe operations where today this cannot be sustained.

More specifically the objectives are:

  • On the positioning part, the 3InSat project is aimed at designing and developing Location Detection System (LDS) prototype using GNSS and ERTMS functions with the objective to guarantee the stringent safety requirements of SIL4 at the signalling system level.
  • On the telecommunication part, 3InSat will select and implement an integrated solution based on the combination of SatCom, 2G/3G  systems and TETRA to realize a link between the on board train control system (e.g European Vital Computer EVC) and the ground based infrastructure (e.g the Radio Block Centre RBC). A Mobile Access Router (MAR) prototype will be developed to manage the multiple wireless links on-board.

Furthermore, 3InSat has the objective to verify these solutions along a regional railways line in Sardinia on 1 test train, where an end-to-end signalling solution will be installed (the installation will not interfere with the existing signalling and will not have any impact on the railway safety). 

Users and their needs

  • The Italian railway infrastructure manager (RFI) and the German one (DB Netz) are reference users and partners of the project; they contribute to the user requirements definition, the tests and the demonstration activities.
  • Other reference users is the Australian private mining company Roy Hill which is building a railway line to transport the minerals from the mines to the port and has already awarded a contract to Ansaldo STS. This project is the first in the world that has specified a satellite-based train control system with a SIL4 train localization function at System Level expected to become operational in 2015.Trenitalia test train in Cagliari station

The worldwide potential market for satellite-based train control systems is quite large. The demand is driven by different indicators: the growth of the core signalling market (+6% year), the government directive in the USA and to some extent in Russia, the new private players (the mining sector) and the need to modernise the old and low traffic lines in Europe.

An important market force is the need to deploy new lines in critical areas where the cost of maintenance of the railways is prohibitive (South Africa, Russia, Australia, Brazil). These needs can be fulfilled with the adoption of satellite technologies in order to reduce track-side circuitry and equipment to the largest possible extent.

Current Status

System Deployment Acceptance (SDA) was successfully concluded for the Localization Determination System (LDS) and the terrestrial (Vodafone M2M) and the satellite (Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN)) telecommunications subsystems.

In 2014, the TLC Test Campaign (both terrestrial and satellite) was executed on the Cagliari-Olbia line in Sardinia. The EURORADIO over IP protocol was tested on both solutions. A TLC networks performance analysis was conducted showing the performances of the network are compliant with the requirements expressed for low traffic lines. The proprietary augmentation network  and the installations on board of the train have been concluded.

Currently, a passenger train equipped with the On Board LDS (operating in shadow mode) is running along the railway line.  

A  demonstration campaign of the integrated solution is expected to take place in Sardinia in Q1 2015. In Q3 2015 a complete and certifiable signalling solution will be deployed and tested again in Sardinia making use of the GNSS based LDS and the Satcom+2G/3G+TETRA+MAR 

Prime Contractor

Project Managers

Contractor Project Manager

Gianluigi Fontana
Via Paolo Mantovani 3-5
16151 Genoa GE
+39 010 655 2079

ESA Project Manager

Michele Castorina
Keplerlaan 1
2201 AZ Noordwijk

Status Date

09 March 2015 - Created: 13 November 2015