Deutsche Bahn and SNCF Sign Digitalisation Cooperation Agreement

SNCF and Deutsche Bahn started collaborating in the field of digitalisation four years ago. Now the two companies have signed a new agreement on digitalisation and technology to expand their partnership.

The new agreement focuses on seven areas where rail operations can become more automated, as well as on increasing the quality, performance and attractiveness of rail. The co-operation will also look at energy management and at finding ways of reducing carbon emissions. The two parties want to accelerate the integration of new solutions and meet the targets of the European Green Deal.

The signatories were SNCF president Jean-Pierre Farandou, DB CEO Richard Lutz, SNCF director of technology and innovation Pierre Izard, and DB head of digitalisation and technology Sabina Jeschke.

Jean-Pierre Farandou said:

“It is our job to help shape the future, to develop better services for our customers and to create the foundations for a more efficient and more robust railway. With this new partnership between our two countries we are strengthening our innovation and technology programme in order to develop the rail sector.”

At the heart of this continuing co-operation is the architecture of the future European railway system with the technological building blocks autonomous trains, fail-safe train location, future communications systems including 5G and intelligent train operation using simulation methods and AI.

Both companies want to make more rapid progress in key areas. These include digital rail freight by improving cross-border data exchange, building information modelling (BIM) for virtual construction planning and execution based on a digital twin as well as passenger navigation with mobile apps.

The two companies have also agreed to an exchange of experiences with regards to alternative traction systems, such as the use of biofuels, hybrid solutions, electric and hydrogen mobility. A further focus will be on environmentally friendly stations.

Richard Lutz said:

“As two of the largest European railway undertakings SNCF and DB face similar challenges and can therefore benefit from similar solutions. Our partnership with SNCF is very significant in this regard: it gives us the opportunity to drive forward the implementation of European standards and initiatives together, while also exchanging experiences and ideas as part of a close collaboration. That's exactly what we need in order to help develop the convergence of the European rail system.”

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