Digital Capacity Management will free up space on congested EU railways

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Europe’s major infrastructure managers and railway undertakings have laid the cornerstones of the future of Digital Capacity Management (DCM). DCM will contribute to freeing up capacity on congested lines for both passenger and freight traffic. It is the IT-part of the European programme TimeTable Redesign (TTR) for Smart Capacity Management.

The cornerstones were laid with a Joint Vision by RailNetEurope, Forum Train Europe, the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) initiative, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European Rail Infrastructure Managers (EIM) and the European Rail Freight Association (ERFA).

“A strong call for investments in Digital Capacity Management stresses its role as a major game changer in order to reach the Green Deal targets for the transport sector”, commented CER.

Congested network

The European railway network is highly congested. To mitigate this situation, two means are needed: building additional infrastructure as well as using the existing infrastructure more efficiently. This can be achieved through digitalising, automising and therefore optimising capacity management.

The European programme TTR for Smart Capacity Management holds exactly this solution in hand: a digitised view on the full European network so infrastructure managers can reduce bottlenecks through smart data management, put more trains on the existing infrastructure, make them run fluidly, better plan their maintenance works, and harmonise interoperable freight and passenger trains.

Facilitating complete process

But there is more to DCM than additional capacity. Railway undertakings require easy access to long- and short-term high-quality train paths in order to design and market attractive products to their customers. In order to compete with the road, a train needs to be run across Europe as easily as a truck.

DCM will connect the systems of infrastructure managers and railway undertakings to facilitate the complete capacity management process – from advance planning to the actual train run. This benefits customers who receive better rail products, with more capacity for flexible connections throughout Europe, and with higher reliability and ease of use.

Game changer

Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas: “Digital Capacity Management is a game changer. It will help infrastructure managers to make driving a train through Europe as easy as driving a truck”, said Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas at the stop of the Connecting Europe Express in Antwerp.

DCM is one of the five enabling technologies identified by the Rail Freight Forward (RFF) initiative to make rail leap forward into the 21st century and become the backbone of Europe’s mobility.

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Author: Majorie van Leijen

Majorie van Leijen is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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