Stadler Prepares DB Locomotives for ETCS Rollout

Deutsche Bahn (DB), Stadler and its engineering joint venture AngelStar are preparing locomotives in Germany for the European Train Control System (ETCS).

This is the first time that German locomotives have been prepared for ETCS without the involvement of the locomotive manufacturer.

Stadler is preparing locomotives for ETCS, paving the way for a faster ETCS roll-out in Germany
Stadler is preparing locomotives for ETCS, paving the way for a faster ETCS roll-out in Germany

With around 13,000 locomotives and multiple units in Germany due to be retrofitted for ETCS in the coming years, capacity limits from manufacturers could act as potential bottlenecks. By completing the work without their involvement, this system thus paves the way for a faster rollout.

These retrofits are required to meet the pan-European standard that is being deployed on railway lines across Germany. This transition also serves as the foundation for further digitalisation of railway operations.

Hans Peter Lang, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at DB Group and Chairman of the Management Board of DB Systemtechnik, said:

“Equipping lines and vehicles with ETCS technology that is standardised across Europe is the basis for the further digitalisation of railway operations. This will create more capacity for travel and freight transport by rail.

“The fact that Stadler and AngelStar, DB Cargo and DB Systemtechnik have now together succeeded in retrofitting ETCS without the involvement of the vehicle manufacturer opens up new paths and strengthens competition. This will significantly facilitate the ETCS roll-out for the entire industry in Germany.”

Under this collaboration, two DB Cargo locomotives have now been retrofitted with the GUARDIA Baseline 3.4.0 ETCS automatic train protection system and have returned to operations.

This is the first time that a 185.2 series DB locomotive (Alstom Traxx) has been retrofitted with the ETCS system from Stadler.

This achievement thus required extensive work before the first locomotive could receive its re-approval as “First of Class.”

Approval was then simpler for the second locomotive, which was deemed to be structurally identical and was awarded “Conformity to Type” status.

All future retrofits performed in the same way can now refer back to this model to aid efficiency.

Ansgar Brockmeyer, Head of the Sales & Marketing Division and Deputy Group CEO of Stadler said:

“Stadler has deliberately broken new ground with this retrofit project in order to simplify the retrofitting of modern signalling technology in existing vehicles. With this innovation, we can create the urgently needed capacity in the rail industry to transport the large number of existing vehicles in Europe into the digital future.”

Previously, Stadler has been accustomed to carrying out retrofit orders for its own vehicles, having received its first retrofit order for GUARDIA in 2020 from the Dutch rail operator Arriva.

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