Focus

FOCUS


FOCUS


  • NEW 2021

    Cluster TOTEM
    WORKING WITH EACH OTHER, WORKING FOR EACH OTHER


    WORKING WITH EACH OTHER, WORKING FOR EACH OTHER


    What is the TOTEM cluster?


    New regional TOTEM cluster for Transport Of TErrestrial and Maritime, located in Occitania (South France Region) is the result of a choice of Occitania within the framework of the specialization of European Regions initiated by the European Commission in Brussels.


    TOTEM specializes in the Automotive, Railway, Maritime sectors and in a complementary manner the Ecosystem sector which promote collaboration with other regional sectors such as aeronautics, energy or even industry 4.0.


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  • NEW 2021

    RAILTEX/INFRARAIL
    Let’s get back on track: Railtex & Infrarail 2021 confirmed to go ahead in September



    Let’s get back on track: Railtex & Infrarail 2021 confirmed to go ahead in September

    NEC, Birmingham | 7 - 9 September 2021


    Railtex and Infrarail have successfully served the rail market for over 20 years, and for the first time in 2021, the UK’s most important events in the rail calendar will come together to form the ultimate show for the industry. The co-located event will provide an unparalleled opportunity for companies serving all aspects of the infrastructure and rolling stock sectors to present their products and services, meet new and existing customers and be part of the industry’s networking event of the year.


    Railtex/Infrarail will be a safe event


    The Organisers are keeping up to date with the latest government guidelines and closely working with the venue to deliver a secure environment and ensure a safe return to events. “We’re looking forward to hosting Railtex/Infrarail at the NEC on 7-9 September. This promises to be a fantastic exhibition and a great opportunity for the rail industry to reconnect. In the meantime, we continue to work hard behind the scenes, preparing to resume full operations and ensuring visitors can return safely to the venue under our NEC Venue Protect measures,” expresses Ian Taylor, Managing Director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions.


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  • NEW 2021

    SHIFT2RAIL JOINT UNDERTAKING
    Infrastructure Smart Maintenance


    Infrastructure Smart Maintenance

    Infrastructure Smart Maintenance is a key topic of Shift2Rail’s Research and Innovation Programme, as laid out in the Shift2Rail Multi-Annual Action Plan. It will lead to a reliable and performing infrastructure, supporting the reduction of infrastructure maintenance costs, such as simplified procedures or automation, and importantly, the prediction of failures to prevent their occurrences. This topic is addressed within Shift2Rail’s framework, with the involvement of infrastructure managers and technology/service providers in order to achieve harmonised processes in the EU, so that the final customer can enjoy a reliable, safe and competitive travel experience. The Intelligent Asset Management Strategies Technical Demonstrator (TD) 3.8 addresses two issues – firstly, the definition of concepts for intelligent maintenance planning and decision support; and secondly, a work stream leading towards advanced tools and equipment, supporting the execution of maintenance.


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  • NEW 2021

    ADVANTECH
    Intelligent computing and networking solutions for end-to-end railway visualisation


    Intelligent computing and networking solutions for end-to-end railway visualisation
    By Alicja Strzemieczna, Regional Sales Manager CEE Industrial IoT Advantech

    Advantech, in partnership with railway operators and integrators worldwide, has dedicated resources to design and develop new products for reliable and cost-effective railway systems. These products support rolling stock, automatic train supervision, signalling, backbone networks and more. The company’s mission is to enable intelligent railway systems, a goal which simultaneously helps fulfil the Advantech vision of creating and delivering smart technologies.


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  • NEW 2021

    SHIFT2RAIL JOINT UNDERTAKING
    Digital Automatic Coupling: the backbone for full digital rail freight operations in Europe


    Digital Automatic Coupling: the backbone for full digital rail freight operations in Europe

    The challenge for Europe’s rail freight transport


    The automation of freight trains has hardly changed for decades. Employees still need to manually couple trains, walking the length of the train so that each individual wagon can be connected and checked. DB Cargo, Europe’s largest rail freight operator, estimates that its staff carry out the coupling process 54,000 times every day and walk around 700,000 km a year during train formation.


    Little progress has been made in the other areas of automation of freight train operations as well. The preparation of a train prior to departure is still a largely manual process. Besides the mechanical coupling of locomotive and freight wagons, brake air hoses need to be connected. The checking of the wagon order, the test of the brakes and the calculation of the train’s braking weight and performance are still done mainly manually. The technical condition of the freight wagons is inspected by operating staff as part of a technical wagon inspection. Finally, even the sign at the end of the train has to be attached manually.


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  • NEW 2020

    ADVANTECH
    Keeping the Rail sector one step ahead By Jash Bansidhar, Managing Director, Advantech Europe


    Keeping the Rail sector one step ahead


    As with many sectors, the effects of Covid-19 on the rail industry have been far-reaching, with a huge impact on operations, not least in terms of passenger numbers. Figures from the Rail Safety & Standards Board in the UK, for example, suggest that domestic passenger numbers fell at one point as low as 4%, and the picture is similar elsewhere in Europe.


    While the picture is improving as national lockdown measures are gradually lifted, the legacy of Covid-19 will no doubt outlast the timescale of the current pandemic. This means that rail operators globally must find ways to deliver high-quality operations and service, and so maintain profitability, for the years to come.


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  • NEW 2020

    IVU.RAIL
    Optimisation as a driver of efficiency: making the most of vehicles and staff


    Optimisation as a driver of efficiency: making the most of vehicles and staff


    Planning vehicle workings and duties is a demanding tasktask – deploying all resources properly and optimally poses a challenge. The potential to generate optimised results is therefore significant. A small increase of a few percent in the efficiency of vehicle workings or duty schedules can save railway companies a lot of money. The optimisation solutions of IVU Traffic Technologies make it possible to always maintain an overview of complex run schedules and duty schedules and to utilise existing resources in the most efficient manner.


    Rail companies all around the world put their trust in IVU.rail to optimise the planning and dispatch of all their resources and to reduce operational disruptions. The integrated software solution features entirely digital workflows, meaning that all data is always available across all areas of work – from long-term timetable planning and personnel planning through to the daily deployment of vehicles and employees.


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  • NEW 2020

    Frequentis
    Prioritising the passenger journey


    Prioritising the passenger journey


    As railways adapt to reduced passenger numbers, and new capacity limits to maintain social distancing, it is as important as ever for safety, reliability and punctuality to meet passenger expectations. Frequentis Head of Public Transport Solutions, Markus Myslivec, explains how integrating software solutions for operations and incident management can help.


    Before the pandemic there was a focus on improving railway passenger experience, reducing overcrowding and expanding capacity at peak times. As passengers start to return to work it’s clear that commuter numbers are a long way from returning to pre-covid levels. Numbers aside, passenger journey and safety are still key; keeping passengers informed about incidents and keeping disruptions to a minimum remains a priority.


    In the rail sector, Frequentis is focused on promoting a high level of integration between the software solutions needed for day-to-day operations, and those used when an incident occurs. This integration is key to the management of any incident on or around the railway and is reflected by the improved key performance indicators (KPIs).


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  • NEW 2020

    Bitzer
    Repair and remanufacture: the green solution


    Repair and remanufacture: the green solution


    BITZER is one of the leading compressor manufacturers in the world, holding the largest market share in reciprocating and screw compressors in most countries. As such, the specialist for refrigeration and air conditioning technology has the responsibility to provide the right services to its customers – locally and with the necessary market flexibility. This is why BITZER’s service network was born: Green Point.


    BITZER had a clear vision of the growing importance of services and aftersales when it started its Green Point concept almost 15 years ago. Services such as compressor repairs and remanufacturing are becoming ever more important, which is why Green Point offers state-of-the-art BITZER compressor care and services, close to customers and in interaction with local markets.


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  • NEW 2020

    Greener railways with BITZER


    Greener railways with BITZER


    As one of the most climate-friendly modes of transportation, the railway plays an important role when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Most operators are building on this environmental advantage in order to save CO2 emissions, costs and energy. One of their reliable partners is the specialist for compression technology in refrigeration and air conditioning, BITZER.


    In the last few years, railway operators have started several projects to significantly reduce power consumption and CO2 emissions of their vehicles. Besides improvements such as brake energy recuperation, many components of a train can contribute to reduce both energy consumption and emissions.


    With decades of experience in mobile applications, BITZER manufactures compressors for the most varied air conditioning applications associated with railway. BITZER compressors meet the high demand for climate-friendly solutions for mobile refrigeration and air conditioning applications and prepare users for the challenges of the future.


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  • NEW 2020

    Leroy Automation
    Rolling stock technology accelerated by IEC 61131-3 STRATON PLC On-board train control and monitoring systems (TCMS) applications


    Rolling stock technology accelerated by IEC 61131-3 STRATON PLC
    On-board train control and monitoring systems (TCMS) applications


    LEROY AUTOMATION, a global leader and manufacturer of reliable rail automation components and on-board train control and monitoring systems (TCMS) architect, extends its software strategy with the IEC 61131-3 STRATON solution.


    AAs the preferred automation partner for international rolling stock manufacturers and railway subsystem integrators, Leroy Automation’s engineering teams support the railway industry and its operators for new built vehicles, as well as for mid-life train overhaul or modernization projects, with innovative on-board TCMS and rail automation solutions.


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  • NEW 2020

    Expect the best advice with Bächli AG’s vast experience


    Our mission is to create the most optimal solution for your needs.


    Find the right combination of solutions poses a great challenge to many engineers, such as in the development of a train. Legislative restrictions, the technical standards, mechanical and electrical requirements and your demands, in terms of design, size, efficiency, cost, etc., are just some of the many considerations required in order to develop the optimum solution for you.


    Bächli AG is an expert in finding these solutions for all of your needs. We do not merely sell standard, cookie-cutter products, but instead offer solutions that are tailored specifically to your needs. We will work together with you, step by step, to develop a bespoke solution in the form of a technical service or product for you.


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  • NEW 2020

    nVent Launches New SCHROFF IP65 Case - IP-Pro Alu EMC provides strong protection in harsh environmental conditions


    nVent Launches New SCHROFF IP65 Case
    IP-Pro Alu EMC provides strong protection in harsh environmental conditions


    LONDON – October 15, 2020 – nVent Electric plc (NYSE:NVT) (“nVent”), a global leader in electrical connection and protection solutions, announces a new addition to its SCHROFF portfolio of products: a robust case family designed especially for protecting sensitive electronics in harsh environmental conditions. The new IP-Pro Alu EMC case offers IP65 protection in the standard version, which can be extended to IP67 if required. The die-cast aluminum case is also EMC shielded and resistant to shock, vibrations and corrosion.


    As a result, it is particularly suitable for applications in railway and transportation, communication technology, test and measurement and for applications in the industrial IoT sector. The case can be mounted on buildings, masts or in vehicles. It can control or monitor processes as a decentralized control unit equipped with a single-board computer.


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  • NEW 2020

    COVID-19: The impact on Rail R&I by Carlo Borghini, Executive Director, Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking


    Carlo Borghini, Executive Director, Shift2Rail Joint Undertaking


    COVID-19: The impact on Rail R&I

    The past months saw the global economy moving in just a few days to smart working arrangements as a result of the pandemic. Everything happened so fast that almost nobody had the time to prepare, but simply to react with the available instruments while mitigating the business and societal risks associated to such a sudden change.


    Although it is not yet sure how the pandemic situation will evolve, it is clear that it has had an unprecedented negative impact on the overall global economy, and its consequences will be present for years. Throughout this difficult period, rail has demonstrated a unique resilience to ensure the connectivity of people – health workers in primis – at different levels; in terms of rail freight the opportunity to maintain the supply chain has been matched with a fast response and adaptation.


    The global response has differed, and also in the European Union, notwithstanding the efforts put in place by the Commission, different national, regional, and local answers have impacted and still impact rail mobility and transport. During the crisis, the need for an integrated approach has become more evident day by day.


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  • NEW 2020

    Pfaff Verkehrstechnik now also supplies electromechanically adjustable roof working platforms for buses


    Pfaff Verkehrstechnik now also supplies electromechanically adjustable roof working platforms for buses


    Kissing (Germany), September 11, 2020 – Pfaff Verkehrstechnik is expanding its product portfolio to include solutions for servicing and maintenance work on the roofs of a wide variety of buses, primarily on electrically and gas-powered vehicles. The new roof working platforms with an adjustable height of 1.5 m to 4.5 m can be flexibly adapted to the respective bus fleet due to different segment lengths of 3 m to 9 m according to the modular principle, regardless of whether it is simple buses with 12 m, double-decker buses with 14 m or articulated buses with 18 m length.


    The electromechanical, telescopic platforms and sliding fall protections at the front and rear ensure ergonomic all-round fall protection, regardless of which fleet vehicle is currently in the work area. Employees reach their workplace on the roof of the vehicle safely via adjustable stairs with the correct step height. Optional components such as crane systems for battery replacement, various lighting systems, signalling systems or monitored access doors further increase safety.


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  • NEW

    IVU.RAIL
    Cloud Computing for Railway Companies – Setting the Course for Greater Flexibility


    Cloud Computing for Railway Companies – Setting the Course for Greater Flexibility


    High performance, straightforward updates, less hassle – there are plenty of arguments in favour of the cloud. More specifically, railway companies can greatly benefit from the option to outsource their resource planning to an external data centre and commission a third party to perform all technical management tasks as a service.


    In recent years, German IT-specialist IVU Traffic Technologies has gained extensive experience by managing their leading resource planning solution, IVU.rail, using the software-as-a-service model.


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  • NEW

    Data and Transport:
    Open House?


    Data and Transport: Open House?


    By opening up their data to application developers and programmers, transport organisations can both improve the travel experience for customers. accurate information for multimodal trips, journey planning, and service status updates in real time… despite the potential, the process appears far from straightforward in practice. BtoB Rail explores further, with an eye on the French experience in particular.


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  • NEW

    Linda Tsai Interview
    President Industrial IoT at Advantech
    Global Presence, Regional Approach, Local Touch


    Global Presence, Regional Approach, Local_Touch


    BtoB Rail caught up with Linda Tsai, president, Industrial IoT, Advantech…


    The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) describes sophisticated software and machines that communicate with each other to optimise production and operations. Applied to rail and public transport, it involves the rolling stock and infrastructure. It helps build ‘intelligent’ transportation systems, i.e. systems that ‘talk to each other’ so are more efficient.


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  • NEW

    Advantech in Europe
    by Alicja Strzemieczna
    Regional Sales Manager CEE Industrial IoT at Advantech


    Advantech in Europe


    In Europe, Advantech’s is divided into seven regions and each one has a dedicated Key Account Manager for transportation sector. What we have created is like virtual focus team – to gain more business opportunities.


    Sales from specific regions are able to share experience with other team members. This way, we can improve our knowledge all over continent. Copy good benchmarks and grow equally.


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  • NEW

    Deutsch Bahn
    The success of Multimodality
    by Christine Kraft


    The Success of Multimodality


    Multimodality and intermodality, the idea of combining different transport modes to complete a journey end to end – for both freight and passengers – emerged in the 1980s.


    Today we are seeing a growing trend towards digitalisation. In parallel, efforts are underway to reduce CO2 emissions, congestion and air pollution, based on the goals set by the Paris Agreement signed by 195 member states in 2015 and 2019.


    In this context, multimodality or intermodal transport have become the key drivers for an ambitious transport infrastructure concept.


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  • NEW

    Talk with Christian pucher
    Efficient use of digitalisation for new sensing solutions


    Efficient use of digitalisation for new sensing solutions


    The ability to harness the full potential of digitalisation requires the willingness to think outside of the box.


    New approaches can help to update proven and develop new solutions. Christian Pucher, Chief Marketing Officer at Frauscher Sensor Technology explains how his company has implemented this conviction in its philosophy.


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  • NEW

    Eu-wide Mobility Services
    Talk with Ester Bravo Program Manager at Shift2Rail


    Eu-wide Mobility Services


    When travelling across Europe, passengers are obliged to visit different digital platforms to find the best options, understand what transport services are available locally, and manage the trip directly with individual operators.


    To iron out this complexity, Innovation Programme 4 (IP4) at the European Joint Undertaking Shift2Rail is working on an ecosystem that meets customer needs for door-to-door travel that is seamless, multimodal, and European-wide. This goal should boost the appeal of travelling by rail, making it a platform to integrate other modes of transport, one of the objectives of the overall Shift2Rail programme (see box).


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  • NEW

    SOCOMEC
    Rail Renaissance: Are you ready?


    Rail Renaissance: Are you ready?


    Delivering solutions for traction power, signaling, buildings and on-board rolling stock systems, Socomec provides electrical power solutions for all rail facility applications.


    Our railways are undergoing a period of renaissance, with arguably the most significant investment taking place since the 1950s. This ongoing investment – particularly in technology – will enable rail to remain an attractive mass transportation option, as well as being commercially compelling in terms of the movement of goods.


    The guaranteed performance of systems within any hard working rail infrastructure has never been more important. The most advanced low voltage electrical solutions for rail specific system architectures guarantee network safety and robustness - even in the most challenging operating environments.


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  • NEW

    Bächli AG
    Maintenance-free inductive components


    Maintenance-free inductive components


    Bächli is a Swiss tech company that specialises in the development and production of electrotechnical components. The company’s range of products comprises highly specialised transformers, chokes and winding products of all kinds that are used in differing industrial products and especially in the rail sector.

    The specialists from Bächli make their expertise available to their customers over the entire product life-cycle and ensure that Bächli makes a sustainable and decisive contribution to the success of its customers.


    In years of close cooperation with customers is the need for Maintenance-free inductive components always has been an issue. This is the reason why bächli has developed a wide range of theoretical and practical knowledge in this field.


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  • NEW

    LEROY AUTOMATION - CYBERSECURITY AND THE RAILWAY INDUSTRY


    CYBERSECURITY AND THE RAILWAY INDUSTRY


    Big Data, Cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoTs), Artificial Intelligence (AI)…

    Progress in the field of digital electronics have led in the recent years to a technology shift towards evermore “intelligent” embedded systems, able to control a wider spectrum of functions and subsystems in daily exploitation.


    This leads to an increased quality of service, faster and safer mobility solutions, and ultimately easier commuting for passengers from the departure point to destination.


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  • NEW

    BITZER - THE DEDICATED SOLUTION FOR RAILWAY AIR-CONDITIONING


    THE DEDICATED SOLUTION FOR RAILWAY AIR-CONDITIONING


    Railway vehicles shall be robust, reliable and energy-efficient. And what applies to them, is also important to its components such as refrigeration compressors.


    BITZER has decades of experience with manufacturing compressor equipment for the most varied air-conditioning applications associated with railway carriages.


    The specialist for refrigeration and air-conditioning technology has developed the reciprocating compressor series ECOLINE H to manage railway specific challenges.


    For temperature control, the ECOLINE H can be equipped with VARISTEP – one of the easiest but even most precise types of mechanical capacity regulation.


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  • NEW

    NVENT SCHROFF
    Trackside and Onboard - Robust Cabinet and Rack Solutions to Enable Next Generation Railway Technology


    TRACKSIDE AND ONBOARD - ROBUST CABINET AND RACK SOLUTIONS TO ENABLE NEXT GENERATION RAILWAY TECHNOLOGY


    Trackside: nVent SCHROFF Outdoor Modular Cabinet


    For railway systems, safety and reliability are of utmost importance, as failure in sensitive equipment can have catastrophic consequences.


    This level of safety must also be provided by electronic cabinets installed outdoors on tracks, at train stations and signal boxes, or at level crossings.


    These cabinets protect electronic systems for track and signaling applications, radio-based train control systems, and the measurement and evaluation electronics of safety systems on high-speed railway lines, such as axle counters or temperature detection on the train wheels.


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  • NEW

    IGE+XAO: powerful electrical engineering and manufacturing PLM packages for the railway industry


    POWERFUL ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND MANUFACTURING PLM PACKAGES FOR THE RAILWAY INDUSTRY


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  • Mohamed Mezghani
    UITP secretary General
    special interview


    As the only worldwide network to bring together all public transport stakeholders and all sustainable transport modes, UITP and their global membership knows what direction the sector is going in.


    The UITP Global Public Transport Summit (Stockholm 9-12 June 2019) is the largest of its kind in public transport and urban mobility and the event where the sector will gather to discuss the current state of play, and what that future will look like.


    Leading the debate will be UITP’s Secretary General Mohamed Mezghani. Mohamed became UITP Secretary General in January 2018, and although this is his first Summit as the association’s head figure, he details his past involvements in various roles within UITP and a public transport and mobility career spanning thirty years.


    Read all about the next UITP Global Public Transport Summit in our conversation with Mohamed…


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  • SADEL Smart Train PIS Solution


    SADEL Smart Train PIS Solution


    Word is changing. We are at the beginning of a digital revolution that permits the access to the ICT benefits.


    This revolution finds its ultimate expression in the Transportation sector, particularly on board of Sadel & AlmavivA Smart Train.


    We are at a turning point in how we travel, and we consider of great importance to provide passengers both user-friendly tools and services for an easy, intermodal and fully satisfactory mobility experience.


    Integrated, comprehensive and flexible end-to-end solutions allow transport operators, infrastructure managers and mobility stakeholders to satisfy the smart traveller' s needs. That is why, we have conceived our intelligent “Smart Train” solution that allows all these things.


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  • The digital railway: an integrated workflow for efficient planning and dispatch


    The digital railway: an integrated workflow for efficient planning and dispatch


    Digitalisation is rapidly transforming the rail industry. All over the world, railway operators are investing in their IT in order to leverage the benefits and opportunities of the digital transformation and make themselves more competitive. They are using sophisticated IT systems such as IVU.rail from Berlin-based IT specialist IVU Traffic Technologies to evaluate their comprehensive data, simplify processes and boost their efficiency.


    Until a few years ago, the tasks at most rail companies were largely separate: the paths of planners, personnel dispatchers, vehicle dispatchers, operations managers and drivers rarely crossed. Each task had its own systems and workflows that were often vastly different. Although IT systems were used in many places, the operational view of the processes remained analogue and geared towards conventional roles.


    This is now changing: “With the rise in digitalisation, the previous limited understanding of roles is increasingly being replaced by a holistic system view,” explains Martin Müller-Elschner, CEO of IVU Traffic Technologies. “Individual departments operating solely for themselves are disappearing fast.


    Instead, tasks and roles are converging, in some cases overlapping and influencing each other.” What once seemed impossible due to the manual processes involved is now being performed by IT systems that simplify the complex interactions between timetables, runs and duties.


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  • LOOKING TO THE SKIES


    LOOKING TO THE SKIES


    Drones are in the news as big groups and start-ups alike compete and/or join forces to launch flying taxis for cities. Whether and when they will take off is anyone’s guess. Less The Fifth Element, more here and now, the railways are already using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for maintenance and surveillance purposes.


    Whether and when they will take off is anyone’s guess. Less The Fifth Element, more here and now, the railways are already using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for maintenance and surveillance purposes.


    In a 2016 white paper, Uber presented uberAIR, its vision of a flying cab system – ‘to create efficient cities with less congestion and cleaner air’.


    Its Elevate programme, launched the same year, has been working over the past 24 months to build a network of all-electric, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft powered by distributed electric propulsion.


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  • The UITP Global Public Transport Summit Seven Months to Go!


    The UITP Global Public Transport Summit Seven Months to Go!


    Next year, UITP will host the Global Public Transport Summit in Stockholm (9-12 June 2019) and over the next year, we will be counting down with a special focus on our Exhibition.


    November marks seven months to go until the biggest event in public transport and urban mobility opens its doors!


    So let’s get down to it, and bring you the latest update on who’s coming, who’s showing and what you can see from the international public transport community, mobility decision-makers and industry suppliers, all under one roof.


    UITP’s biennial Summit, organised in partnership with 2019 local host SL, and is the only event that covers the challenges of urban mobility worldwide.


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  • Towards railway-specific, bearer independent communication


    Towards railway-specific, bearer independent communication


    Over recent years, the railways have realised that placing sole reliance on a single radio platform for their voice and data needs is not the best of approaches.


    Essentially because it creates dependency on one single technology, one single platform, and results in deeply integrated yet inflexible services. Railway-specific, bearer independent communication offers an appealing alternative already adopted by the Finnish Transport Agency (FTA).


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  • Times are changing for women in rail
    Special meeting with Jennifer Bächli


    Times are changing for women in rail


    Only 16% of the rail industry is made up of women and even smaller number are in senior, decision-making posts.


    We believe that there are a lot of initiatives in the industry, but we are sure that working together will bring greater success!


    Special meeting with a woman who will inspire other women. Jennifer Bächli, Head of Marketing at BÄCHLI AG


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  • STEVO Electric
    testing you can count on


    Testing you can count on


    DC-high speed circuit breakers (DC-HSCB) have been used on the railways since their electrification at the end of the 19th century. To ensure these vital devices perform effectively, the BALTO line of testing equipment by STEVO Electric is at your service.


    Why is it so important to test DC-HSCBs? “To protect passengers in trains, rail staff and assets,” said Wim D’Hooghe, Head of Global Sales, STEVO Electric.


    “There have been cases where the current on lines has increased, due to faulty circuit breakers, leading to metal melting in the trains operating along them. Also, it’s important to protect the switch gear in traction sub-stations – again, there have been accidents in the past here too.”


    When DC-HSCBs cut off the power, they also handle arcing internally to reduce the risk of electrocution for maintenance workers.


    Another factor to consider, DC-HSCBs are robust devices with impressively long service lives – “up to 40 years and even longer,” pointed out Mr D’Hooghe. “During this time, their springs and other components are simply replaced in the workshop then returned into service, typically without prior testing to check whether they are functioning correctly.”


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  • BLASCHKE – Cleaner air is our passion

    CLEANER AIR IS OUR PASSION


    In railway maintenance depots, hands may get grimy but Blaschke Umwelttechnik GmbH keeps the air clean.


    For over 40 years, the Bavaria-based manufacturer has been supplying exhaust extraction systems to the sector, with French Railways (SNCF) its longest standing and biggest client outside Germany.


    Exhaust fumes emitted when servicing and maintaining diesel motor blocks in closed workshops pose a health risk to workers.


    EThe particle components released – such as carbon monoxides, nitrogen oxides, benzene, hydrocarbons and rust particles, depending on the engine and fuel types – are classified carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO).


    In response, over the years Blaschke has developed a range of extraction systems designed to control exhaust fume emissions in workshops.


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  • TOMORROW'S TRANSPORT:
    PRIVILEGE OF BIG CITIES ?

    TOMORROW'S TRANSPORT: PRIVILEGE OF BIG CITIES ?


    “Congestion is the enemy of GNP. We must bear this in mind. Political decisions that go against mobility go against GNP” – Jérôme Dubus, Paris city councillor, 17th district.


    “Autonomous vehicles are not the privilege of big cities. We have projects planned or ongoing in Rungis, Saclay, and Verdun” – Coralie Renard, head of sales and marketing – autonomous transport systems, Transdev.


    “Despite our name, we’re not promising the moon but a system that could help ease congestion on existing rail routes” – Emeuric Gleize, CEO, SpaceTrain.


    A round table on March 15, organised by students on the M2 Affaires publiques – Promo 2017/2018 course at Université Paris-Dauphine, explored how tomorrow’s mobility might impact territoires, together with the socio-economic issues at stake.


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  • INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTION
    Dealing with the unexpected



    INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SOLUTION - DEALING WITH THE UNEXPECTED


    As public transport services become increasingly customer-focused (the name change from ‘passengers’ says it all), what helps an operator really stand out and strengthen or weaken their brand is how they respond to the unexpected.


    Yet when these events occur, an efficient incident management solution can really make the difference. It puts operators in a position to communicate information to the relevant parties and trigger the right processes, thus ensuring the necessary steps are taken to revert to normal operations as soon as possible.


    Disruptions to normal service are inevitable for all operators, no matter how efficient their overall performance. Signalling or power failures, or the U.K.’s infamous ‘leaves on the track’ moments(!) for example, may cause ‘minor delays’. And then there are emergency situations such as a bomb alert, where passenger safety is at risk.


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  • TRACK AND TRAIN MONITORING
    THE NEXT DIMENSION

    A leader in wheel detection and axle counting, Frauscher Sensor Technology is looking to take track and train monitoring into the next dimension. Since launching its Frauscher Tracking Solutions FTS, based on Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) technology, in 2016, the Austrian supplier has been busy demonstrating its applications on networks across the globe.


    Given the growing numbers of rail passengers worldwide, operators and infrastructure managers are under increasing capacity pressure. Keeping track and train downtime to a minimum, while maintaining high levels of safety, has never been so critical. Maximum availability across entire networks is now the name of the game.


    Yet delivering such highly efficient rail operations calls for consistent monitoring in real time of components of every track and train. This explains why, over the past five years, interest in fibre optic acoustic sensing, based on technologies such as DAS, has gained momentum among railway operators and signalling experts.


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  • GPTS Montréal:
    Alstom, how smart can you go?

    Paris, April 27:A bus-inspired-by-a-tram and systems designed to boost the IQ of transport took centre stage at Alstom's press conference today.



    "Our vision of 'smart mobility' goes beyond digital tech to better integration of rail into urban mobility," said CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge.

    Rather than reinventing the wheel, Alstom's take on 'smart mobility' is very much a question of improving the existing.

    Solutions range from the 100% electric Aptis bus and self-driving shuttles to real-time metro maps, train carriage occupancy info., and predictive maintenance for rolling stock. All-in-all, a portfolio due to be further showcased at UITP's upcoming Global Public Transport Summit (GPTS) in Montréal.




    First and foremost, Aptis. Twelve metres long with capacity for 100 passengers, the current prototype is low floor, feels more about standing room than seated, has deep bay windows and 'lounge-style' seating at the back. Charging can be ‘opportunity’ – at night in the depot, or rapidly at the end of each line during daily operations – or ‘fast’, either via inverted pantograph or Alstom’s SRS ground charging system.

    Electric bus or tram? I asked Dr Harry Hondius (expert in the field) the obvious, confident he would (as always) say it like it is. "Can you see any rails? It's a bus, a bus I tell you!" he told me. That's that sorted then.

    Worth noting, the axles are located at the extremities of the vehicle (giving it crab-like allure) to deliver a smoother ride and reduce the draw-in radius required for drivers to dock at stops – "which is, for example, typically around 15 metres in Paris," pointed out Mr Poupart-Lafarge. "Aptis is designed to considerably reduce, if not eliminate these metres altogether.”

    Refusing to be drawn on the purchasing price, he focused instead on its purported range of 200km, low maintenance and operating costs. According to a press release, '[the vehicle has] total cost of ownership equivalent to current diesel buses.

    Developed by Alstom and its Alsace-based subsidiary NTL, Aptis is due to be tested in Paris and its region in the coming months.

    'Ville de Paris, transport authority the Stif, and operator RATP are currently working out the details of an ambitious programme baptised Grand Paris des Bus. Likely to be put into action from end-2018, early-2019, this highly complex plan seeks to restructure and upgrade the network serving the city and its surroundings'.

    Bridging that gap


    Having acquired undisclosed shares in self-driving shuttle start-up EasyMile (see photo below), Alstom is clearly seeking to boost its chances when bidding for higher capacity public transport tenders (rail, metro, tram, bus) in years to come.




    Offering these autonomous vehicles (AVs) (software developed by EasyMile, vehicles built by manufacturer Ligier), as a first/last mile 'add-on' to its system offers is probably a good move for Alstom. As part of the drive to encourage multi-modal travel, public transport operators and authorities (often cash strapped) are increasingly seeking ways and means, such as bike and ride sharing, or better buses, to efficiently fill crucial journey gap; to avoid the need for cars.

    'Last week, New York City Council passed a bill that requires the NYC Department of Transportation to study and propose solutions to subway deserts — neighborhoods with poor access to a system whose average weekday ridership is more than five million'.



    Source: nextcity.org – 1 May 2017 – ‘New York City Council Wants to Find a Cure for Transit Deserts’, by Josh Cohen.

    ‘Autonomous vehicles: a potential game changer for urban mobility’, a paper released in January 2017 by UITP, details the challenges ahead and outlines a way forward for introducing AVs to cities.


    From building trains making mobility happen... better


    Paris, April 27: A bus-inspired-by-a-tram and systems designed to boost the IQ of transport took centre stage at Alstom's press conference today.

    • Optimet OrbanMap, an intelligent metro map that passengers can consult in stations. Developed by Metrolab (Alstom's 2011 joint venture with public transport operator RATP), it provides real-time traffic and city information (via social media).



    • Linked to OrbanMap and also developed by Metrolab, the Optimet real-time train occupancy system is designed to enhance passenger flow and reduce crowding on trains. "It should enable time savings of around 10 to 15% during boarding and alighting," said Mr Poupart-Lafarge.



    • Alstom's acquisition of Nomad Digital has given it a strong foothold in the fields of passenger Wi-Fi, infotainment, driver assistance, and remote condition monitoring systems for the rail.

    • HealthHub – a predictive maintenance system for trains, signalling, and infrastructure.

    • To boost management of multimodal operations, the Mastria control system brings together the different transport systems serving a city (bus, metro, train, tram). Algorithms are used to anticipate increases in passenger demand (weather, big public events) and so allow operators to deploy fleets in consequence = smarter capacity and energy use.



    Future forward – power of partnerships


    When it comes to innovation, Alstom is clearly not seeking to reinvent the wheel from A to Z. Nor does it intend to do anything new all by itself. Instead the company strategy appears to be based in large part on channelling its existing expertise into new fields. Forging partnerships with tech firms and other outfits doing things it can't, or doing them better, is also part of the plan.



    Alstom owns undisclosed shared in EasyMile with two objectives in mind – to include AVs in its system offers and, at a later date, integrate the technology into Aptis. A recent development, this April Alstom signed a cooperation agreement with Airbus to exchange knowledge on cybersecurity.

    "We are proud to cooperate with Airbus, the world leader in aviation, on this programme, which will provide operators with innovative and efficient cybersecurity solutions for safer transport," said Pascal Cléré, senior VP of Alstom's Digital Mobility division.
    "This cooperation is fully in line with our ambition to be the precursor of the field of railway cybersecurity."

    The autonomy of intercity trains and leadership of the market come 2020 are also in its sights. On this topic, Mr Poupart-Lafarge was keen to point out how the benefits of this technology will go beyond cost savings on drivers. “It will enable greater flexibility of fleets with regards infrastructure and factors external to the trains.”

    On the hot topic of consolidation, Alstom's number one remained elusive: "We are in a good position to benefit from developments over the past five years."

    He doesn't see hyperloop technology (French Railways/SNCF has invested in it) and flying vehicles (as in Dubai) as direct competitors to rail; but doesn't dismiss them altogether either. Indeed, the message is clear – “if integration opportunities arise from these technologies in the years to come, Alstom is interested.”


    Alstom at the GPTS Montréal – Stand N°: 2K104


    Photo sources: Alstom and Passion4Transport

  • Eurostar Business Premier
    consume in moderation

    Paris, February 3: Eurostar invited journalists and other guests to discover its new Business Premier Lounge at Paris Gare du Nord.




    Spread across a lavish mezzanine (formerly housing French Railways/SNCF offices) overlooking the interior of the C19th station on one side, rue de Dunkerque on the other, this VIP (very important passenger) hideaway features high plastered ceilings, marble fireplaces, cosy nooks, artworks, and to-die-for cocktail station.

    Chef Raymond Blanc is very much on board too.

    “It combines the best of Paris with touches of London,” said Nicolas Petrovic, managing director, Eurostar.




    (Above) Nicolas Petrovic (left), managing director, Eurostar, with Patrick Laval, journalist, La Vie du Rail

    Designed by the London-based architectural studio Softroom, highlights include elegant blue-grey Bleu de Savoie marble and an overhead lighting fixture suggesting (to some) the points and switches of rail tracks.

    Overall, the feel of the space is Parisian apartment chic meets British cosy quirk – sofas, rugs, cushions, soft lighting, copious mags and papers (albeit sleek and meticulously ordered, French formal garden style, rather than lying around crumpled à la British).




    With available seating in all shapes and forms for 160 guests, Softroom founders and directors Christopher Bagot and Oliver Salway talked about “generosity of space that is quite tightly organised.”




    The catering, overseen by Mr Blanc in his Business Premier culinary director’s toque, is, as one would expect, world’s apart your typical station fare (depressed jambon-beurre baguettes and desperate coffee).


    “Top quality nuts and crisps, and much more besides,” said Mr Petrovic. “The choice of food ranges from very healthy to a lot less healthy.”

    Light bites in verrines or more substantial plated delicacies, saucisson, cheeses, enticing fruit and vegetable juices, ‘grown in England’ tea by producer Tregothnan, and four coffee machines to ensure nobody is ever kept waiting.


    Upstairs downstairs?


    The circular cocktail station, in gleaming black and gold with velvet stools, is a real eye-catcher. Sunken below floor level, it certainly gives drinkers the upper hand as they scrutinise every move of the staff below concocting their tipples. However the aim, it seems, was more to avoid the bar dominating the lounge and ensure an unbroken vista of the space as a whole.




    Move over Tom Cruise, mixologist Florent, 27 (above) is on top of his game. He’ll shake you up a Lady Marmalade, but Sex on the Beach is a big no no.

    The menu, lovingly crafted by the London Cocktail Club and Mr Blanc, not only features ingredients such as the humble marmalade, but also the chef’s beloved angelica, Eurostar’s signature Toujours 21 gin, coffee, and even Tregothnan tea.

    Operation seduction led by JJ Goodman, ebullient CEO of the London Cocktail Club & an enthusiastic Raymond Blanc

    Obviously feeling a need to justify the presence of alcohol in a railway setting, Mr Petrovic described the bar as a great way for business people to network, a place for productive time. “Whether a good or bad day, it’s nice to relax over drinks – of course when consumed in moderation!” he hastened to add.




    One of the guests, a banker (sipping an alcohol-free beverage) told Passion4Transport she would definitely be back at the bar on her next trip.




    (Above) The uniquely chic Gilly Smith, podcast producer for ‘Delicious’ & husband Jed Novick


    Making its (m)art


    Today art is often used by businesses as an extension of their corporate image. It may serve to render spaces more aesthetically pleasing, to stimulate the workforce, and/or to impress visitors. For its new lounge, Eurostar has commissioned The Hospital Club to curate contemporary artworks, all for sale, on its generous stretches of wall.


    Enter another dimension


    Flanked by dynamic, bird’s eye views – Paris street and station panorama – the up-in-the-air lounge exists in its very own time and space dimension. The only downside – it takes longer to reach the Eurostar trains than from the previous VIP retreat, located flush above the platform. “But it shouldn’t take more than a three-minute walk and we’re confident the enhanced ‘experience’ is well worth it,” said Philippe Mouly, COO, Eurostar..




    Very Important Passenger – Very Important Segment


    Business travel is big business for Eurostar, representing “a very important segment for us, with Paris, Brussels and London as the key pivot points,” said Mr Petrovic.

    Given the stakes a play – the niggling presence and popularity of low-cost flights, plus the impending arrival of a rail rival in the form of the German Deutsche Bahn (which obtained the right to run passenger services through the Channel Tunnel from the British and French authorities in 2013, but has yet to launch) – improving the business experience and perceived value for money is an absolute must if Eurostar is to stay the pace.




    Indeed the Business Premier lounge forms part of Eurostar’s ongoing investment in its stations and services.

    A new fleet of longer and higher capacity trains, the e320 by Siemens, cost the company an impressive €600 million. Check-in facilities at Gare du Nord are visibly expanding to cope with more passengers and ensure the smoothest possible flow.

    Following on from the new London-Avignon/Marseille offer, introduced in May 2015, this year will see the opening of a direct route between London-Rotterdam-Amsterdam.

    Eurostar system: home-from-home for the elite traveller, this lap of luxury retreat is not beyond the wildest dreams of those of us mere mortals!



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