Digitalization in rail operations
Wayside monitoring takes advantage of digitalization by enabling predictive maintenance. The goal is to improve rail system quality while lowering maintenance costs by recognizing potential irregularities at an early stage so that malfunctions can be avoided. In 2017, a video-based system was introduced for the online analysis of freight cars for maintenance purposes. At the end of 2018, a laser-based system for measuring wheel sets will be tested, as will a system for brake shoe diagnostics during ongoing operations.
With a fiber optic sensing (FOS) system, we plan to counteract external influences better and even earlier in the future. In addition, the data provides information on the condition of the infrastructure and the moving materials as well as about the location and speed of the trains. This supports not only maintenance, but also the information provided to the customers and enhances traveling comfort. The results of the pilot projects have been available since mid-2018, and we are deciding our further approach on the basis of those results. Our vision comprises the development of an intelligent system which provides useful sensor data in real time and can be used as a solid decision-making support with minimal expansion of the infrastructure.
First milestone for digital rail in Germany
Hamburg will be equipped with the first highly automated S-Bahn (metro) in Germany. DB Group, the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg and Siemens AG are cooperating on a project that plans to provide digital equipment for a pilot line including four vehicles. The implementation date is October 2021, when Hamburg is hosting the world congress for intelligent transport systems (ITS). The pilot project will cost about € 60 million.