Information published on 12 March 2021 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr eNews.

SNCF and DB step up their partnership on technical and digital innovation

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On Thursday 25 February, SNCF AND DB renewed their cooperation agreement on technical and digital innovation for a further three-year period. The two companies will thus contribute to building Europe’s future rail system, which will be characterised by a reduced environmental footprint.

After four years of cooperation on digital technologies between SNCF and German rail group Deutsche Bahn (DB), the CEOs of both companies, Jean-Pierre Farandou and Richard Lutz, as well as SNCF’s Group Technology, Innovation and Projects Director, Pierre Izard, and DB’s Digitalisation and Technology Director, Sabina Jeschke, signed a new cooperation agreement on Thursday 25 February for a period of three years.
SNCF and DB will increasingly join forces on research and innovation in seven different areas and will work together on new standards to help shape Europe’s future rail system. In particular, the aim of the partnership is to improve customer service quality and rail transport performance and attractiveness through innovation.

Cooperation for the benefit of all aspects of railway activity
Collaboration between SNCF and DB is currently focused on the architecture of the future European rail system and its various technological components, which include autonomous trains, satellite train tracking, future rail communication systems based on 5G, and smart railway operations encompassing simulation methods and artificial intelligence.
SNCF and DB want to make more rapid progress in key areas such as digital freight, including the development of automatic coupling systems for wagons, cross-border exchange of data and information, and passenger directions via mobile apps and in stations. They are also keen to progress more rapidly with regard to data modelling of railway installations (BIM).

Making rail even more environmentally friendly
Though rail is already the greenest transport mode in terms of environmental protection, the cooperation between SNCF and DB will also focus on areas such as decarbonisation and energy management so as to reduce its environmental footprint even further. The two companies have thus agreed to share their respective experience in relation to alternative energy sources such as biofuel, hydrogen, hybrid technologies and battery systems. They will also work together on “green stations”, with more efficient energy management and greater reuse of construction materials.
SNCF and DB will collaborative in order to accelerate the implementation of new solutions and meet the objectives of the European Green Deal, which aims to achieve carbon neutrality within the European Union by 2050.

Jean-Pierre Farandou said: “We must help to shape the future, design better services for customers and create the foundations for a more efficient and robust rail system. This new partnership between our two countries means that we can strengthen our innovation and technology programmes for the benefit of the industry”.

(Source: SNCF)