Technologies for Sustainable & Attractive European Rail Freight

IP Coordinator: Norbert Kahl - DB


Total Project Value:
€ 12 450 389,86
from 01/05/2018 to 30/04/2021
S2R (Of H2020) co-funding:
€ 5 461 568,31
Andrea Mazzone
Complementary projects:
Previous Project:


The objective of the FR8RAIL II project is to further develop technologies relevant for the rail freight sector to reach the goal highlighted in the S2R Master Plan. The work partly bases on results achieved in the foregoing projects of the AWP 2015-2017 (FFL4E, ARCC, FR8RAIL, FR8HUB) and seeks to increase the TRL of the specific technologies. Thus, to be consistent with the expected results, FR8RAIL II addresses following challenges:

1. New Automatic Couplers, provided with electrical power supply and data transmission functionalities, need to be implemented. The project pursues to complete the detailed design, build up a unitary demonstrator and test it on a relevant environment to validate the new design.

2. Telematics and Electrification will enable Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) and Cargo Monitoring System (CMS). Within this work stream, a service transponder for freight, the wagon On-Board Unit (wOBU), will be developed.

3. Improved methods for annual and short-term timetable planning in traffic operations will increase overall capacity and raise punctuality for both passenger and freight traffic. Main focus is improved short term planning for freight traffic including improved interaction between yards and the network. Results about requirements, roles and processes from ARCC project is input. A demonstrator for improved timetable planning will be developed to showcase the innovations.

4. The work stream of Real-time network management aims at reducing or even eliminating manual communication by integrating medium to short-term and operational planning at yards/terminals and in the railway network. By improved planning operational deviations will decrease.

5. Future freight wagon design for the core and extended market will contribute to increased reliability of the freight transport due to its integrated solutions for telematics and electrification. Challenges are to increase the payload per meter of train by means of lightweight design. Optimized aerodynamics and acoustics will contribute to a greener and more efficient operation.

6. Future main line electric freight locomotives must feature highly flexible freight propulsion systems with reduced operational costs. The work stream freight automation will address these challenges, by analyzing, specifying and developing such functionalities.

7. The freight sector needs to find ways to rapidly decrease unit costs to improve its competitiveness against the road sector. Distributed Power in freight trains will contribute to solve this problem by distributing the traction and braking forces for long freight trains up to 1,500 m. FR8RAIL II will refine the technology developed within FFL4E with focus on mixed trains and demonstrate it in real life environment.

8. The connection of Automated Train Operation (ATO) and Connected Driver Advisory Systems (C-DAS) to the Traffic Management System (TMS) in train control centers of the IM allows transferring the traffic regulation information to the driving system. FR8RAIL II will develop a system concept for connection of onboard Driver Advisory Systems (DAS) and landside TMS, specify, develop and demonstrate specific C-DAS functions and evaluate its effects.

Project Structure

WP01 - Wagon Design & Automatic Coupling

The work is a consistent continuation of the work done in the FR8RAIL project. In order to push forward the development of the next generation freight wagon, the research and development in the following areas is proposed:

  • General specifications for a multi-purpose next generation freight wagon, including the bogie, and its final development.
  • Development of components, subsystems as well as the overall system in a multidisciplinary approach, including specifications for flexible use in current wagons when possible. This includes a bogie with excellent dynamic, protection from track derailment, wheel, track and curving-friendly running gear.
  • Modular lightweight, aerodynamic optimized and low noise wagon design with an integration of brakes, vehicle & goods monitoring systems, being an enabler for effective vehicle monitoring systems and predictive maintenance strategies.
  • Development of an automatic coupling solution for freight vehicles in Europe and the definition of a consistent migration plan for its implementation.
  • Proof of concept for the extended market wagon 2020 and its subsystems, functional mock-up of a full-scale core market wagon.

WP02 - Wagon Intelligence

Freight Condition Based Maintenance (CBM) will be enabled by the intelligent wagon based on Telematics and Electrification. Based on the results of FR8RAIL project the objectives of this work package are aligned towards developing the wagon intelligence:
  • Specification of the intelligent wagon and development of the subsystems (WMS, CMS, wOBU, FTSMS) (T2.1 and T2.2)
  • Specification of the integration of the telematics (WMS, CMS, wOBU, FTSMS) with the new wagon design including new wheels and axles (WP1), with Automatic Coupler (WP1), with Access and Operation and Novel Terminal, Hubs, Marshalling yards, Sidings (WP3) and with CBM including target process, aggregation of wagon data and web-interface for train data visualization. (T2.3).
  • Definition of demonstration activities and test scenarios (T2.4)

WP03 - Real-time network management and improved methods for timetable planning

In FR8RAIL2 WP3, the first steps in implementing the plan from ARCC WP3 are taken. The work package will deliver a demonstrator about improved short term planning and daily planning. For real-time network management requirements will be specified for a demonstrator for testing real time network management concepts. Main objectives are:
  • To improve methods for annual and short-term timetable planning aiming at reducing the gap between planning perspective and real time network management
  • Demonstrate timetable planning concepts that improves conditions for real time network management. A demonstrator on improved short-term planning and daily planning with improved interaction IM – RU including network and yard/terminals should be developed.
  • Develop methods and tools that can reduce inefficiencies in real time network management by improving the possibilities for holistic view of the railway transport by e.g. improving the interaction between yards/terminals and network, and between infrastructure manager and railway undertakings. Requirements for a real time network management demonstrator should be specified.

WP04 - Connected Driver Advisory Systems (C-DAS)

The aim of this work package is to define requirements, system concept and demonstration for a Driver Advisory System connected to the Traffic Management System of the IM. The goal is to significantly increase service efficiency and energy savings. C-DAS, based on the real time data exchanged with TMS, will be able to evaluate speed profiles in accordance to the traffic real condition of the railway while TMS could improve quality of regulation strategies. The objectives are:
  • Define and align requirements of TMS-users and RU for C-DAS in strong linkage to IP 2 and other running projects
  • Develop concepts for C-DAS on concrete corridor sections
  • Realize simulations and demonstrators for C-DAS on concrete corridor sections
  • Evaluation of impact on performance and competitiveness

WP05 - Freight Automation

This work package aims at defining and developing concepts and requirements for automating the train preparation phase for a further increase of efficiency and safety. The objectives are:
  • List, analyse and evaluate the various activities performed during the freight train preparation phase
  • Select the three activities with the highest impact and develop the concepts and the functional requirement specification for automating these.
  • Develop detailed technical specification develop and demonstrate some of these activities.

WP06 - Freight Propulsion

This work package aims at finalizing the developing of the last mile propulsion systems tackled in WP4 of the FFL4E project (full electric last mile propulsion) and in WP6 of the FR8HUB project (evaluation and design of innovative powerful last mile propulsion system). The overall objectives are:
  • Detailed integration and pre-development work for the next generation last mile propulsion system selected in FR8HUB (schematics, mechanical integration work, integration into the locomotive communication control, etc)
  • Development of the mission manager, responsible for the energy management while in last mile mode
  • Evaluate and develop intelligent energy efficient driving and parking modes.

WP07 - Long Trains

This WP continues with the activities started in FFL4E aiming at the final goal of a system capable of running trains with Distributed Power up to 1,500m trains. FFL4E has been focusing on the base functionality and its demonstration. FR8RAIL II is going to refine the functionality for regular operations. The objectives of the WP are:
  • Development of Distributed Power System (DPS) for freight trains in Europe
  • Enhance functionality of DPS for regular operations
  • Feasibility of trains up to 1,500 m from technological, operational and safety perspective
  • Operation of DPS in demonstrator trains

WP08 - Conditioned Based Maintenance

The overarching objective of this work package is to expand the scope defined in FR8RAIL, by scaling the condition based and predictive maintenance (CBM) transformation efforts to other relevant locomotive types within Europe. To pioneer such an expansion, it is proposed to firstly focus on one locomotive class that is operated in several European countries (i.e. class 66 and 77). This may include:
  • The identification of the most relevant components for continuous supervision for the locomotive class types 66, 77 and Bombardier TRAXX3
  • Enablement of knowledge transfer between local legal entities in terms of best practices identified in previous project phases in Germany. The proposed scope of this work package should, moreover, be seen as integral preparations for the completion of work packages to be proposed to answer the AWP 2019.

WP09 - Project Management

WP10 - Dissemination




Results and Publications

D9.1_Quality Plan

FR8RAIL II - D10.1 - Dissemination and communication strategy


All deliverables, results and publications herewith provided reflects only the author's view and the S2R JU is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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Andrea Mazzone

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No: 826206