Siemens and Deutsche Bahn showcase automatic train

The driver remains on the train to supervise the journey with passengers on board but shunting, such as turning the train around, is done without on-board personnel.

Deutsche Bahn (DB) and Siemens Mobility have developed what they claim is the world’s first train that operates by itself in rail traffic.

The digital S-Bahn had its premiere run at the opening of the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress (ITS), taking place in Hamburg until 15 October.

During the congress, four digital S-Bahn trains are operating automatically along the 23km section of S-Bahn Line 21 between Berliner Tor and Bergedorf/Aumühle stations.

Hamburg rail project

The train was presented by Dr Richard Lutz, CEO of DB, and Dr Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens, along with Dr Peter Tschentscher, mayor of Hamburg as part of the digital S-Bahn Hamburg project.

“We’re experiencing the true turn of an era: the railroad has arrived in the digital future and Digital Rail Germany has become a reality,” said Lutz. “With automated rail operations, we can offer our passengers a significantly expanded, more reliable and therefore improved service – without having to lay a single kilometre of new track.

“It is our goal to make rail transport attractive to ever-larger numbers of people, which is the only way we can achieve the mobility transition.”

The train is controlled by digital technology and is fully automated. The driver remains on the train to supervise the journey with passengers on board. Shunting, such as turning the train around, is done without on-board personnel.

The project partners DB, Siemens Mobility and the City of Hamburg, have invested a total of €60m in the digital S-Bahn Hamburg, which is part of DB’s Digital Rail Germany project.

Tschentscher, first mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, added: “Digitisation holds a lot of potential for the entire Hamburg S-Bahn network. We are creating greater capacities on the existing tracks and improve reliability and punctuality of rail travel.

“We are making rail transport more intelligent. Trains drive the perfect timetable automatically, accurate to the second and energy-optimised,” said Busch. “This way, we are supporting our partner Deutsche Bahn in its goal of making train travel more attractive and protecting the climate.

“With our technology, our customers can transport up to 30 per cent more passengers, significantly improve punctuality and save more than 30 per cent energy. The digital S-Bahn Hamburg marks a world premiere. The new technology has already been officially approved and, since it features open interfaces, can immediately be used by operators worldwide for all types of trains.”

Last year, DB and the City of Hamburg extended their 2017 smart city partnership for a further five years. Both partners plan to use digital technologies and innovative ideas to make local public transport and train stations more attractive for customers.

This trend can already be seen at the Dammtor train station, the gateway to the ITS World Congress, which features improved displays with new train information and innovative routing guidance provide orientation for all travellers and congress guests.



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