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MG-2.3-2014 - New generation of rail vehicles

Specific challenge: A combination of rail customers’ ever-evolving requirements for passenger vehicles regarding quality of service, mounting energy costs, more stringent emissions standards, and increasing stress on the economics of rail operation is generating a new wave of challenges to rail vehicle development – notably imposing the delivery of enhanced functionality, comfort, safety, operational performance, interoperability and reduced life cycle costs. Reconciling such requirements will imply a departure from the traditional, incremental approach to vehicle development to a whole new way of thinking on product development.

Scope: Proposals should focus on innovative system approaches leading in the longer-term to the development and demonstration of a new-generation of railway vehicles and passenger trains, characterised by significant improvements in product reliability, cost-effectiveness, user-friendliness, safety and security, environmental impacts, ease of manufacture and interoperability. This will demand not only the development and integration of higher-performance technologies for critical structural components and traction, command-control and cabin environment applications (e.g. new materials, smart power and wireless technologies) but also the design and production solutions (e.g. modular, ""commercial off-the-shelf"" or adaptive concepts) that best contribute to the lean manufacturing and more efficient and safe operation of such vehicles. Proposals should also consider the development of innovative solutions to extend vehicle lifetime, or simplify retrofitting and will ensure interoperability through better Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) between the railway vehicles and the electrical installations of the network.

Attention should also be paid to the development of innovative, modular and customisable solutions for comfortable and attractive train interiors as an integral part of the whole passenger train concept. In particular, these should focus on delivering a unique traveller experience, facilitating accessibility, notably for persons with reduced mobility, fast boarding for commuters, as well as other on-board value-added services.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 14 to 16 million each would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: The key goal will be to deliver a reduction of up to 40% in life cycle costs of rolling stock products, an increase in passenger train capacity up to 15%, reductions of downtime by increased reliability (up to 50%), a reduction of energy consumption (up to 30%) and an improvement in environmental performance, whilst delivering superior performance in terms of overall service quality, safety and customer experience in rail transport.

Type of action: Research and Innovation Actions