CORDIS - EU research results

Digitalization and Automation of Freight Rail

Project description

Upgrading the European rail freight transport

Few transportation modes are as effective and eco-friendly as railroads when it comes to moving goods across long distances. The EU-funded FR8RAIL II project will introduce new technologies to further increase the sustainability of the European rail freight transport. It focuses on developing new automatic couplers for connecting rolling stock, equipping trains with new telematics devices for better condition-based maintenance, devising new methods for improving short- and long-term timetable planning, and optimising capacity with rail freight planning software. It is also investigating flexible freight propulsion systems to reduce operational costs and adding extra locomotives between freight wagons to help trains haul heavy loads without derailing. Rolling out all these trends on tracks will significantly increase the European railway sector competitiveness.


Within the challenges highlighted in the IP5 part of the S2R Master Plan, FR8RAIL II further focuses on improving the freight eco system by addressing various challenges: New automatic couplers (1), provided with electrical and data transmission functionalities will massively improve the efficiency of the train composition process, new telematics and electrification (2) will enable Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) by collecting, transmitting and using the necessary information while being supplied with the required energy by means of an advanced energy management system.
Improved methods for annual and short-term timetable planning (3) will help traffic operators increasing the overall capacity and raise punctuality and with Real-time network management (4), integrating medium to short-term and operational planning at yards/terminals and in the railway network, inefficiencies will be further reduced or even eliminated.
Future freight wagon design (5) is a stream that will contribute in improving reliability of the freight transport while increasing the payload per meter of train. The latter one will be propelled by future main line electric freight locomotives featuring highly flexible freight propulsion (6) systems with reduced operational costs. Furthermore, these new freight trains will be propelled by more than one locomotive running with distributed power (7), thus allowing long freight trains up to 1,500 m. Last but not least, focus is given to driver advisory aystems that are connected (C-DAS) to the traffic management systems (8), further enhancing capacity, improving punctuality and optimize energy consumption of the railway system.
Summarizing, FR8RAIL II focuses on various facets of the freight eco system with one goal: overall improvement and increase of competitiveness of the rail freight transport.

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Net EU contribution
€ 401 211,77
Ernst-Reuter-Platz 6
10587 Berlin

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Berlin Berlin Berlin
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
No data

Participants (35)