The federal government has commissioned a feasibility study for the rollout of ETCS in Germany and the introduction of digital interlockings. The study will offer details on the technical implementation of the project as well as the schedule, financing, and economic benefits when it is issued in mid-2018.

“The development of ETCS and digital interlockings will require a great deal of public, rail, and industry efforts,” Mr Ronald Pofalla, DB infrastructure director, said during a presentation of the Digital Railway Germany strategy to more than 250 delegates from the European transport, industry, political institutions, and associations at the Competition and Regulation Symposium in Berlin on January 25.

“But this will be money well spent because everyone benefits: the enormous innovation boost benefits customers of all railways in Germany, Germany as a business location, and also the climate. A more efficient rail sector means less and less road traffic, less congestion, less particulate matter, and significantly lower CO2 emissions.”

DB is aiming to increase rail capacity by up to 20% by introducing digital technologies including ETCS. According to initial plans, around 80% of the German network could be operated digitally without traditional signals by 2030. “This is a key element of implementing the transport policy goal of getting more traffic onto the rails,” Pofalla says.

DB Cargo recently launched an international project to equip 1200 of its locomotives with ETCS, and rolling out the technology on lines in Germany is a key component of the interoperable element of DB’s 2020+ strategy.

For more on this strategy see the interview with DB’s CTO, Mr Rolf Hardi, in the January 2018 edition of IRJ, or click here.