Belgium switched tracks onto Erex system

It has been ten years since Belgium first partnered with Eress. To understand the journey thus far, we spoke with Bart Van der Spiegel, Expert of Energy Management at Infrabel, and asked him about the transition to Erex and what lays ahead for European railways.


When asked about the advantages of joining Eress, Mr. Van der Spiegel said there were three primary benefits. “The first was that, if we had done it ourselves, it would have taken a lot more time to define what we needed, purchase it or build it, then follow-up the construction of a complete system. By joining Eress, we were able to access an already existing solution. The second big advantage was knowledge sharing. There are only a few people who have a deep understanding of this topic at Infrabel. By joining forces with the other Eress partners, we were able to combine our resources and get a lot more knowledge on a very specific topic. The final advantage was that it is, of course, less expensive to join one common system than to reinvent the same wheel over and over again.”


To promote the installation of energy meters, Mr. Van der Spiegel says that Infrabel is offering an advantage on energy consumption for train operators. “We overestimate the consumption of trains without meters by about two percent, which means train operators pay two percent more. In addition to the two percent increase in consumption, they will also have to pay two to three percent more on tariff, as of 2020. So, for those trains that have meters, there is a return on investment because the operators only pay for what they consume.”


Concerning what advice he has for countries who are considering a partnership with Eress, Mr. Van der Spiegel mentions that “one of the most common questions that comes up with new partners is, ‘Can we just join a partnership or do we have to tender in order to join?’ So, I think there some misunderstanding. For Belgium, we decided to check with our juridical department. They concluded that we did not need to consult the market and that we could just join Eress. This holds true for any country considering joining the partnership. Anyone can join and receive free access to the Erex system. They are welcome to consult the market first but they will not find anyone who can deliver this solution as cost-effectively as Eress. Furthermore, I think it’s important to note that Eress does not offer commercial services to the market because it is a partnership. Because of this, and because Erex is tendering itself for each new development, it is not necessary for new partners to tender before joining.”

The full version of this article can be found in Eress Magazine 2019.
Author: Annika Utgaard
For more information, please contact

Bart Van der Spiegel, Infrabel

Created Wednesday, February 20, 2019


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