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The effect of the update of the European standard EN 50128

A case study at the effect of the update of the European standard EN 50128, by Åsa Nordström, Uppsala University.


The European standard EN 50128 "Railway applications - Communication, signalling and processing systems - Software for railway control and protection systems" is one of the European standards for European Railway systems. It is intended for software aspects, specifying procedures and technical requirements for the development of programmable Electronic systems, which are used in railway control and protection applications. Since 2017-04-25 the original version EN 50128:2001 has been replaced by the updated new version EN 50128:2011. The update is quite extensive and will effect many parts of the existing Railway systems. The aim of this study is to investigate the effect of the EN 50128 update.

The work for this study includes literature study, document research and interview with the relevant supplies and experts. Qualitative and quantitative methods have been used in the study to reach the possible best results.

The effects due to the EN 50128 update have been extensively investigated. The following issues have been addressed:

  • How can the update of the standard EN 50128 be done smoothly by the companies?
  • How much money have they spent to update their process to follow the 2011 version?
  • What parts of the process have been the most extensive and expensive to change due to the standard update?

The results of the work are useful for an organized and professional assessor to help and support the companies dealing with this complex software, in order for them to be prepared for the upcoming standard update as well as possible. If the affected companies have been proactive in their own development of their methods/techniques, the 2011 version of the standard will not be a major work to follow for their process. A standard is a guideline and a support in the way to a safer system.

The effect of the update of the European standard EN 50128 - The management of the safety of the software applications for railway applications (pdf-fil, 2,8 MB)