Operations Control Center for ETCS route, Deutsche Bahn AG / Kai Michael Neuhold

Alstom to install digital interlocking in Coburg for Deutsche Bahn

Alstom will install a digital interlocking in Coburg, Germany on behalf of DB Netz, on the Lichtenfels-Coburg-Sonneberg line section in Bavaria and Thuringia to support DB’s Digital Rail programme.  The technology will transmit train control information digitally. The German government is financing the project on seven regional lines as part of a coronavirus stimulus package valued at 500 million euros.

Digitalising rail interlockings is one of the key steps in introducing European Train Control (ETCS) in Germany and Deutsche Bahn’s plans to digitalise its interlockings and railway network by 2035. Once installed, the technology will begin transmitting rail control information digitally. This is to increase the line’s passenger capacity and reliability, as well as reduce CO2 emissions.

Dr. Kristian Weiland, Head of Digital Rail Germany: “We are now in turbo-mode with Digital Rail Germany. This year, together with our partner Alstom, we will start digitalising our interlocking in Coburg where rail passengers will benefit from a larger and more reliable rail service.”

Digitalisation strategy

By the end of 2023, Alstom will replace the existing interlockings on the Sonneberg-Coburg-Lichtenfels section with a digital interlocking solution. From then, control commands will no longer be transmitted electrically, or even mechanically, but from a fibre optic cable and data network to control elements that monitor vacancy signals, switches, and other information. The new technology should make the system less susceptible to interruption.

The development of this new interlocking technology has been a key element in DB’s digitalisation strategy. During this innovation phase, the project will create a uniform operating system with standardised interfaces between ETCS and digital interlockings. With this in place, rail vehicles and infrastructure will communicate and operate smoothly as part of a digital railway, regardless of the underlying technology or previous equipment provider. Alstom and DB Netz AG also plan to simplify and accelerate processes within the project to support its successful execution.

Investment funds

As part of Germany’s Economic Stimulus Package, six other rail infrastructure digitalisation projects are receiving investment funds. For example, the Ansbach – Triesdorf railway line project has been awarded to InoSig GmbH (part of the Alstom Group since January 2021). The interlocking system uses an internet protocol-based (IP) architecture. With the associated replacement of the old technology with modern technology, an important contribution is being made to increasing the safety of the railway infrastructure as well as its availability.

Michael Konias, Head of Digital & Integrated Systems for Alstom in Germany, Austria and Switzerland: “We are committed to serving Deutsche Bahn with the latest standards in digital trackside equipment, making rail more reliable, more efficient and fit for a sustainable future in Europe”.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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