DEEN
Intelligent infrastructure
Digital interlockings
(DSTW)
Digital control and
safety technology (ETCS)
Low
maintenance
Obstacle detection
Real-time location

Digital Rail for Germany

Departure
Rapid introduction strengthens
innovation and industrial location Germany
Develops technological
advantage
Technology creates
attractive jobs
Know-how and technology
can be exported
Expansion strengthens
glass fiber structure
Traffic becomes
more efficient

Digital Rail
for Germany

is revolutionising rail transport: an unprecedented technological leap is equipping the environmentally friendly rail industry for a promising future.

#Capacity

A standardised digital system will add up to 20% extra capacity to the network. Shorter intervals between trains will allow better use of infrastructure.

More information

#Environment

The added capacity achieved through digitalisation enables more trains to run, benefiting passengers and the environment.

More information
Faster reactions
to disturbances
Less failures
System
overview
Punctual
trains
Modern and
standardized systems

#Reliability

State-of-the-art technology improves quality of rail operations. Greater reliability and punctuality mean higher customer satisfaction.

More information

#Efficiency

Standardised systems such as ETCS and digital signalling increase the cost effectiveness of all rail operations and enable interoperability right across Europe.

More information
Deutschlandkarte

#Chance

Digital Rail for Germany: Benefiting the whole German economy and driving innovations for new technologies and standards in Europe.

More information

#Voices

Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
Andreas Scheuer
German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
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Ronald Pofalla, Board Member for Infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn
Ronald Pofalla
Board Member for Infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn
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Susanne Henckel, Chair of BAG-SPNV, the German federal working group for local rail transport authorities
Susanne Henckel
Chair of BAG-SPNV, the German federal working group
for local rail transport authorities
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Axel Schuppe, Managing Director of the German Railway Industry Association
Axel Schuppe
Managing Director of the German Railway Industry Association
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Michail Stahlhut, CEO of Hupac Intermodal SA / agent for innovations, European Railways Network
Michail Stahlhut
CEO of Hupac Intermodal SA / agent for
innovations, European Railways Network
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Martin Schmitz, Managing Director for Engineering, Association of German Transport Companies
Martin Schmitz
Managing Director for Engineering, Association of German
Transport Companies
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Dirk Flege, Executive Director, German Pro-Rail Alliance
Dirk Flege
Executive Director, German Pro-Rail Alliance
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Alexander Kirchner, Chairman of the Railway and Transport Union
Alexander Kirchner
Chairman of the Railway and Transport Union
Read quote

#Capacity

Introducing ETCS

ETCS (European Train Control System) is the centrepiece of Digital Rail for Germany. Instead of using trackside signals, trains in future will be controlled by radio. Comprehensive installation of ETCS and a radio system (currently GSM-R) will enable signallers to direct trains safely and efficiently without the traditional colour light signals along the route. In ETCS, information is transmitted between the train and route control centre via balises placed between the rails. Signalling information is shown on a display in the driver's cab. The long-term aim is for the ETCS standard to replace the more than 20 national automatic train control systems currently in use across Europe.

Graphic: Driving without signals

The most important task of ETCS is to ensure that a train travels at the right speed along each section of track. The system transmits route information to the train, telling it the maximum permissible speed and the next point at which it must stop. The train's on-board computer them compares the actual speed with the speed specified by the balises or radio block centres and the distance to the destination, braking the train automatically if it is travelling too fast.

Digitalised, intelligent control technology such as ETCS, combined with traffic management based on digitalised planning and scheduling processes, will enable shorter headways between trains, more flexible operation and much better use of infrastructure capacity. ETCS is also a good basis for many technologies of the future, such as highly developed sensors for object recognition and highly effective live geolocation systems, which will be needed to fully digitalise rail operations in future.

ETCS on the Munich–Berlin new-build line

ETCS is already in use on the on the Munich–Berlin route. High-speed trains run at speeds of up to 300 km/h on the new-build line, carrying passengers between Berlin and Munich in a record time of just under four hours from city to city. The new line has closed a gap in Germany's high-speed rail network and made the train a real alternative to road and air travel between the two cities. The technology used opens up many other opportunities, such as for state-of-the-art S-Bahn, regional and long-distance services – the beginning of a new era of rail travel.

#Environment

The existing rail network is at full capacity in many areas, but building new lines is expensive and takes time. Digitalisation is therefore the most important aspect of the transport transition.

Making optimal use of existing resources and enabling smoother operation reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

By fitting trains and track with modern control-command and signalling, Digital Rail for Germany can contribute directly to climate targets for the transport sector. DB is already making a difference with modern power stations and traction systems: by 2030, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 50%. The proportion of renewable energy in rail transport will increase to 70% over the same period.

All DB Long Distance passengers – 140,000,000 people a year – have been travelling with 100% renewable power since 1 January 2018. Deutsche Bahn's new climate target is based on international climate protection goals and designed to help achieve the 2° target. The international community resolved to de-carbonise the global economy by 2050 in the Paris climate agreement. The German government has adopted this as a national target with its Climate Action Plan 2050.

#Reliability

Standardising technical components and an improved overview of the system bring greater reliability. Fewer faults and speedy repairs mean a stable timetable and fewer cancellations.

New diagnostics system for preventive maintenance

»Heart monitor« for our points: DIANA

To improve the availability of points, DB is using a digital remote diagnostics system to identify potential faults before they occur. Sensors on the points report any abnormalities during switching. These are detected by monitoring power consumption. If the pattern of power consumption deviates from the norm, maintenance staff can identify potential problems at an early stage on their PCs and mobile devices, allowing them to initiate maintenance work before the points fail. This reduces point failures by up to 50%, meaning better quality rail services and higher punctuality. Point motor diagnostics systems will be fitted to 30,000 points by 2020, connecting them to DIANA.

Keeping an ear to the rails:
Fibre optic sensing

Deutsche Bahn has its ear to the ground thanks to a new technology: »fibre optic sensing«. Light reflections in fibre optic cable allow sound to be visualised. By placing a fibre optic cable next to the track, information on noises in the rails can be sent at almost the speed of light. Once analysed, the data can tell engineers about the condition of infrastructure and rolling stock as well as the location and speed of trains. Fibre optic cables currently cover 50% of rail lines and are used to transmit data at high speed and to operate signals and control-command technology. But they can do much more. Locating damage, for instance. A rock fall hitting the railway line creates sound waves that briefly distort the glass fibre cable by a matter of micrometres. This alters the light pulses passing through the cable. Special filtering systems analyse these signals and can show, for example, that a rock fall has hit the railway line at kilometre post 45.07. This system not only supports predictive (and thus more cost-effective) maintenance, but also improves customer information and convenience.

#Efficiency

Digital Rail for Germany is increasing automation and thus the efficiency of rail operations. Standardised technology throughout the network means easier maintenance and faster fault rectification. This enables cost reductions in maintenance and all rail operations.

Digital signalling technology

ETCS will be operated by digital signalboxes. These will replace the 100 different signalbox types used today. They require fewer locations and will provide an attractive place to work for the rail employees of the future.

The many different styles of signalbox currently in use across Germany – some dating back over 100 years, others built for modern electronic interlockings – will be gradually replaced by the innovative technology. This will enable trains to run more efficiently and reliably. The new system architecture will allow commands from the traffic controllers to be transmitted digitally using network technology. This means there will be no more need for cable bundles stretching many kilometres with a separate connection to operate each point. The network connection by data cable will also enable points to be controlled from a far greater distance.

Europe's first digital interlocking system in Annaberg-Buchholz, which began operation on 19 January 2018, marked the start of the development and nationwide implementation of the new, innovative generation of signalbox.

Efficient freight transport: ETCS on European corridors

The European Train Control System (ETCS) is not only providing for safer and more efficient rail operations here in Germany, but also for cross-border interoperability Europe-wide. ETCS is finding its way onto rail routes along especially important European corridors linking economic centres. The Trans-European Network (TEN) routes will boast 2,000 kilometres of ETCS operation by 2022, some 1,450 kilometres of which will be installed along the Rhine-Alpine corridor. The Rhine-Alpine Core Network Corridor is one of a total nine such corridors on the EU's Trans-European Network. At approximately 3,900 kilometres in length, the Rhine-Alpine Corridor links several economic powerhouses: the ports of Zeebrugge, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp, the Rhine-Ruhr region, Frankfurt/Rhine-Main, Basel-Zurich, and the region of Lombardy with the port of Genoa to the south. The corridor links Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy. In Germany, the ETCS Corridor A project comprises some 1,600 kilometres and represents the most extensive part of the work to equip the trans-European Rhine-Alpine corridor.

#Chance

Technological leap for the German rail industry – Digital Rail for Germany is creating one of the continent's most state-of-the-art infrastructures. The investment project is on such a scale that it will boost innovation and industry in Germany as well as mobility Europe-wide.

German and international industry will benefit from the introduction of ETCS and digital signalling technology. This will strengthen Germany's export industry and Europe as a centre of innovation: technology and expertise will be able to reach world markets and new market potential will be created around the globe. The new fibre optic network along rail lines will bring a wealth of opportunities, improve the cable infrastructure and make Germany more competitive as a location for business and industry.

Digital technology will also offer new opportunities and developments in the world of work: technical innovations will bring interesting new tasks and careers, requiring and promoting new skills. New technologies will also simplify processes and reduce workloads.

Future vision for fully automated driving: Hamburg S-Bahn

Trailblazer for digital rail operations: the Hamburg S-Bahn will be the first German regional network to implement automatic train operation.

Four trains will operate in highly automated mode on a specially equipped 23-kilometre section of track. Here, the train driver's job will be to monitor the digital technology and intervene only in the event of a fault or potential danger. On the remainder of the line, the driver will return to normal driving duties. The second focus of the »Digital S-Bahn Hamburg« is on train movements between the storage sidings and the platform. Here, the four trains will cover a distance of approximately 1 kilometre in fully automatic mode. This means that there will be no staff on board. The train's movements will be monitored by personnel along the track. The automated trains are due to begin running in time for the ITS World Congress in October 2021.

Technical implementation is based on Automatic Train Operation (ATO) and the European Train Control System (ETCS). The trains will contain both ETCS and ATO onboard units. As soon as the train is being monitored by the ETCS, the driver can switch on ATO. The ATO onboard unit will receive current timetable information from the trackside ATO control centre and permission to proceed from the onboard ETCS computer. The ATO system will provide an energy-optimised speed profile to ensure the next stop is reached on schedule.

#Voices

Andreas Scheuer, German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

»We want people in Germany to be able to say: Wow – travelling with Deutsche Bahn is straightforward, their prices are reasonable, I can travel in comfort, and services are reliable. In a nutshell, our goal is exhilaration not frustration. DB's digitalisation campaign will make a major difference here. DB can be even more than the most modern, eco-friendly mode of transport: it can make people enthusiastic about traveling by rail.«

Andreas Scheuer
German Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

#Voices

Ronald Pofalla, Board Member for Infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn

»We are taking an unprecedented step forward, towards a future with rail services that are more frequent, more punctual, and more eco-friendly to boot. This will be a key component in achieving the transport policy goal of shifting more traffic to rail.«

Ronald Pofalla
Board Member for Infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn
Ronald Pofalla, Laura Karasek, DB Podcast

Brand new: The podcast series "Sorry, is there anyone here?". Important deciders in the transport sector are talking about Digital Railway for Germany on a fictitious train journey. In the first episode: Ronald Pofalla with presenter Laura Karasek.

From September 19 the podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Music.

#Voices

Susanne Henckel, Chair of BAG-SPNV, the German federal working group for local rail transport authorities

»Digital Rail will make rail travel much more attractive in Germany. It will raise on-time rates and offer more capacity on the same infrastructure. This, in turn, will make it possible to better integrate local and long-distance rail traffic. And we can also increase local patronage if the additional train paths so urgently needed are made available.«

Susanne Henckel
Chair of BAG-SPNV, the German federal working group for local rail transport authorities

#Voices

Axel Schuppe, Managing Director of the German Railway Industry Association

»For the German railway industry, Digital Rail for Germany is a unique opportunity to make a giant leap forward in rail technology. It can give Germany a lasting boost as an attractive place to do business, and it can elevate digital rail technology made in Germany to a new, higher status. The companies in the railway industry are ready to do their part.«

Axel Schuppe
Managing Director of the German Railway Industry Association

#Voices

Michail Stahlhut, CEO of Hupac Intermodal SA

»Today's highly digitalised freight logistics industry needs to close the 'rail gap', offering seamlessly international information flows and delivering production solutions that give efficiency a major boost across national borders. The challenge here is to be fast – speed will enable rail to quickly raise its market share in long-distance freight transport.«

Michail Stahlhut
CEO of Hupac Intermodal SA

#Voices

Martin Schmitz, Managing Director for Engineering, Association of German Transport Companies

»ETCS will lower costs, raise capacity and generate opportunities for automatic train operation – and this will make it possible to substantially increase rail's market share in the passenger and freight transport markets, and to tangibly reduce transport-related emissions and pollution.«

Martin Schmitz
Managing Director for Engineering, Association of German Transport Companies

#Voices

Dirk Flege, Executive Director, German Pro-Rail Alliance

»Digitalisation may be something of a buzzword these days, but the fact remains that it has the potential to revolutionise rail transport – to raise on-time rates, improve cost-effectiveness and make rail more attractive. If the government is willing to make large-scale investments in transport, the money is better spent on digitalising rail infrastructure than on building new motorways.«

Dirk Flege
Executive Director, German Pro-Rail Alliance

#Voices

Alexander Kirchner, Chairman of the Railway and Transport Union

»ETCS can significantly reduce the barriers to competition between national and international railways. That's good - also for jobs in this sector. As a trade union, we demand that the introduction of new techniques also has to have an advantage for the employees.«

Alexander Kirchner
Chairman of the Railway and Transport Union

Contact

Digital Rail for Germany is the project for the future of railway in Germany.

For questions, further information and offers to the project goals please send an email to:

info@digitale-schiene-deutschland.de

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