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Siemens and DB launched semi-automated trains on the same line with non-automated ones

30 September 2022
Reading time ~ 3 min
Bombardier Class 474 train with a computer vision system on the S-Bahn network
Bombardier Class 474 train with a computer vision system on the S-Bahn network. Source: Deutsche Bahn
Litvintsova Olga, Editor of International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 3 min
Stolchnev Alexey, Russian Projects Editor, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

Germany: A fleet of four 3-car GoA2 electric trains with automated start-up, acceleration, braking and stopping functions have gone into commercial operation on a 23 km section of the Hamburg S-Bahn urban rail system with a deployed 5G network. At the same time, the driver stays in the cab. The technology was previously demonstrated last October during the World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems.

This project worth €60 mln is called Sensors4Rail and has been implemented by a consortium of German companies with the participation of Siemens Mobility and under the leadership of Deutsche Bahn since July 2018 as part of the Digitale Schiene Deutschland (DSD) railway digitalization program. During 1.5 years of commercial operation, it is planned to test the efficiency of the computer vision systems installed on electric trains in Hamburg in different operating scenarios, as well as to accumulate the data from sensors for further AI deep learining.

Sensors4Rail is being implemented in conjunction with another DSD program project to integrate automated trains into the schedule along with non-automated rolling stock. According to the project participants, this will create a universal solution for the introduction of automated technology without the need for major infrastructure upgrades.

Location of computer vision sensors in the head car of a Bombardier class 474 train Location of computer vision sensors in the head car of a Bombardier class 474 train. Source:

Specially for the project, Siemens Mobility upgraded 4 three-car Bombardier class 474 trains manufactured in 1999, equipping them with 4 radars, 4 cameras (3 in the visible spectrum and one in the mid-infrared range) and 6 lidars. Also, the intermediate car was equipped with ETCS level 2 traffic control system on top of the ATO system. ETCS allows to adjust the intervals of trains and controls their speed, in turn, ATO controls the traction and braking system of the train. It is noted that the new technology will increase the traffic frequency, optimize the time of boarding and alighting of passengers, thereby increasing the turnover of the line by 30%.

Also, 64 class 490 trains by Alstom are currently contracted for S‑Bahn in Hamburg. They will also be equipped with ETCS over ATO. The new fleet is planned to be put into operation in 2025.