Rail Cargo Group

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Standing f.l.t.r. Günter Petschnig (Managing Director PJM), Ferdinand Schmidt (Member of the Board RCG)
Sitting f.l.t.r. Martin Joch (Managing Director PJM), Nicolas Perrin (Member of the Board SBB Cargo), Clemens Först (Speaker of the Board RCG)

Partially automated train preparation for freight traffic


Partially automated train preparation for freight traffic

At the transport logistic trade fair in Munich, SBB Cargo, the Rail Cargo Group (RCG) and PJ Messtechnik (PJM) signed a contract for the joint development of a partially automated train preparation system. Newly developed communication and cloud solutions, in combination with sensors, will very soon make it possible to automate train preparation. The first step in this system solution is the integration of the automatic brake test into the partially automated train preparation system. The common objective is to introduce a supranational intelligent freight train and thus lay the foundations for a new standard for in-train communications.

The digitalisation of rail freight traffic is proceeding apace. Customer requirements regarding telematics and sensor technology in rail freight traffic are increasing all the time. It is ever more important to standardise, to digitalise and eventually to automate current production processes in rail freight traffic. SBB Cargo, the RCG and the PJM freight wagon monitoring experts have now come together to drive the development of an intelligent freight train.

The future model of an intelligent freight train

At the moment, brake tests have to be carried out manually. This means that for each newly formed train, an employee must check that the brakes are functioning on every wagon before departure. In the future this should be performed automatically for reasons of increased reliability and safety – particularly with regard to the activities of employees in shunting operations and when preparing trains.

The joint and supranational development of products in rail freight traffic makes sense in many respects. For example, the system solutions developed can be tested across national borders – in this case, in Switzerland and Austria. This accelerates the acquisition of official recognition across Europe. For this reason, SBB Cargo, the RCG and PJM are together developing a marketable test train. This pilot project represents a milestone in the technological development of rail freight traffic. Not only is interoperability guaranteed, but open standards for European goods traffic are also proved. In addition, automated processes further increase the safety and reliability of rail traffic. PJM will provide the necessary test technology with the WaggonTracker System. PJM is an accredited test body for railway vehicles and develops and manufactures products in the field of measurement technology, telematics and monitoring solutions for the railway sector.

The first tests will be carried out this summer. The first generation of the intelligent freight train should be running in productive operation in Switzerland and Austria in the second half of 2018.