Deutsche Bahn to deploy 5G on test tracks in Ore Mountains

Deutsche Bahn is planning to deploy the 5G technology on its railway test track in the Ore Mountains. The new mobile standard will be examined within the digitalisation policy of the railway operator. The project will be carried out together with the Chemnitz University of Technology.

European railways intend to shift from the current GSM-R standard to the Future Railway Mobile Communication System (FRMCS) in the coming years. Therefore, Deutsche Bahn (DB) in a partnership with the researchers from Chemnitz University of Technology (TU Chemnitz) will deploy and examine the 5G technology, which is a key part of FRMCS, on its railway test track in the Ore Mountains. This experiment will be funded by the Federal Government that will allocate up to 15 million euros.

In order to carry out the trials, DB will construct 5G radio masts on the Annaberg-Buchholz – Schwarzenberg railway line and will make some improvements on the route. It will also purchase traction units and will convert them into test vehicles. “The digital future of the railways has already begun in the Ore Mountains. Europe’s first digital signal box in Annaberg-Buchholz has been reliably controlling operations since 2018. We are now expanding the test field and working very intensively on the use of the 5G mobile communications standard for railway operations,” said DB Board Member for Infrastructure Ronald Pofalla.

Digital Test Field Railway

The Annaberg-Buchholz – Schwarzenberg railway is the 25-kilometre secondary line, which is located in the German state of Saxony close to the Czech border. Since 1997, it is no longer used for scheduled passenger train traffic. As the route runs via the mountainous terrain, it is very curved and, therefore, is very convenient for test drives. In addition, the line is appropriate for various climate trials of the railway vehicles and equipment. Deutsche Bahn has converted the line into the test railway track. The German operator is planning to turn the route in the “Digital Test Field Railway”, which is being currently constructed.

Are you interested to know more about 5G on rails? The dedicated online courses will take place within the RailTech Academy on 26 August. Dick Martens from the Dutch company Strict will share his knowledge. To register the online lecture, visit the following link.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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