France: Paris Transport Authority (RATP) and Wabtec have announced a partnership to test Wabtec’s new Green Friction braking solution. The tests will study the system’s ability to improve air quality in Paris tunnels by reducing micro-particles emitted from friction braking. The tests will assess the performance and particle emissions materials currently used on Parisian trains compared with Green Friction brakes, before further operational tests on the new brakes are conducted on suburban trains in the city. The Green Friction brakes are expected to reduce particle emissions by up to 90%. 

Russia: Moscow Metro has introduced Google Pay as a contactless payment option for ticketing across its network. The system currently works exclusively with Mastercard but will be available with other payment systems in future. The metro now accepts most bank cards, including МИР (MIR), Visa and Mastercard, as well as a range of payment apps including Google Pay, Samsung Pay, ApplePay, Huawei Pay, МИР Pay, AliPay and UnionPay. 

Britain: West Midlands Trains, which operates West Midlands Railway (WMR) and London Northwestern Railway (LNR), has deployed a new real-time information and onboard entertainment system developed by GoMedia in association with parent company Icomera. The new system enables smart devices to connect to the WMR/LNR Wi-Fi portal, where passengers can view real-time train journey progress, live departure information and a range of entertainment and news content. 

Germany: Wabtec has received certification for its Metroflexx brake system from independent testing and certification authority TÜV. The Metroflexx braking system uses digital controls to optimise efficient braking and is equipped with condition-based maintenance sensors. 

International: British Internet of Things (IoT) developer Blockdox and German intelligent 3D sensor developer Iris have announced a strategic partnership to develop real-time passenger footfall monitoring systems for public transport. The partnership is intended to combine BlockDox’s PassengerCount platform, which offers key analytics and insights for managing boarding and alighting times and crowd and disruption management, with  sensors manufactured by Iris. 

Germany: German Rail (DB) has announced that it will digitise a large part of its human resources (HR) processes and transfer them to the Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management Cloud (HCM), which will enable all HR topics to be accessible via a central access point for employees, managers and HR managers. The new platform will be used in all 18 business areas of DB in Germany. This affects more than 210,000 employees, 100,000 retirees and external staff. 

Israel: Alstom has finalised a deal to invest $US 7m in Israeli cybersecurity specialist Cylus, acquiring one seat on the company’s board. The deal also includes a strategic cooperation agreement to build a commercial partnership to integrate Cylus’ cybersecurity technology into railway processes, components and solutions, including the Tel Aviv light rail network, which is due to open its first line next year. 

Netherlands: Netherlands Railway (NS) has acquired Belgian IT company Vaigo as part of plans to expand the range of its digital services. Vaigo will develop a new mobility policy service to enable employers to easily set and manage travel budgets for employees via a new digital platform. 

France: Infrastructure manager SNCF Réseau has deployed a new level crossing alert system developed by driving assistant systems developer Coyote. The new system is based on SNCF Réseau data, and alerts drivers in advance via the car’s integrated multimedia systems when approaching a level crossing. 

Hungary: Rail Cargo Hungary (RCH) has invested Forints 1.5bn ($US 5.06m) to retrofit the remaining unmodified freight wagons in its fleet with quiet brakes before 2023. A total of 1300 vehicles in the RCH fleet have been equipped with quiet brakes as of December 2020, out of a total fleet of around 6300 wagons, with a further 700 currently undergoing conversion.