Shift2Rail introduces digital brake testing on freight trains (RailFreight)
SNCF, Shift2Rail and Traxens revealed a digital brake testing system for freight trains at trade fair InnoTrans 2018 on Tuesday. It is the first step towards a fully digital freight train, the companies said. The project received certification from the French railway safety authority last week. Shift2Rail, SNCF Fret and DB Cargo will test interoperability of the system in 2019.
“The past two years have been very exciting,” Bertrand Minary of SNCF Fret said. “We have created something entirely new.” It took two years of testing to get the system right and to gain certification from the French railway safety authority EPSF, he explained. SNCF has officially implemented the system last week. Currently, 145 trains are retrofitted with the new technology.
According to Minary, there are three main advantages of digital brake testing. “First, this system is more efficient. It is twice as fast as conventional brake testing.” Efficiency improves the punctuality of the freight train. But the digital test also makes the procedure much safer, as the train driver no longer has to carry out the arduous task, which requires actual strenght, the French official explained. “Third, for freight train operators, it is a flexible system. It works on all kinds of trains and for different kinds of purposes.” Brake test automation is only one example of what the combination of a device and sensors creates. This, the companies call ‘the digital freight train’.