Another European rail freight operator to test automatic braking
After the successful use of the automatic braking system on the railway network of Switzerland, one more European railway undertaking, DB Cargo, is getting ready to review the possibilities of the innovation. In the future, the solution, jointly developed by PJ Monitoring, SBB Cargo and Rail Cargo Austria, could become a part of another railway technology, to be more precise, digital automatic coupling.
In mid-July 2022, DB Cargo announced that it would become the third rail freight operator in Europe to participate in testing the automatic braking system. The new solution is the result of cooperation between PJ Monitoring (PJM), the Austria-based specialist in rail freight automation, and two railway undertakings, SBB Cargo and Rail Cargo Group (RCG). Together, they equipped a prototype of a freight train with the innovation, which was successfully tested. Now, DB Cargo is planning to continue reviewing the solution but on the German railway network. The tests will be carried out within a year when the innovation will be tested automatically four-six times a day or around 1,800 times a year.
From tracking to coupling
PJM developed the automatic braking solution on the basis of its WaggonTracker system, which can monitor several functions of a wagon including brakes. The safety-relevant data is transmitted via in-train communication to the train driver during the train journey. Moreover, automatic braking could be a part of the digital automatic coupling (DAC). “Due to the modular concept, our system can be connected with the future DAC with reasonable effort. Whichever European standard will be implemented in 2030, our system will be compatible. Thus, the urgently needed automated brake testing can be rolled out now and not just at the end of the decade,” said Günter Petschnig, CEO of PJM.