Automated Freight Train Testing Picks Up Speed

A joint German-Dutch project to trial the control and remote monitoring of automated freight trains has begun this month.

It starts with a one-year run on the Dutch section of the Betuweroute, which connects the port of Rotterdam with the Ruhr area and is dedicated to freight rail.

A DB freight trainA DB freight train

© Deutsche Bahn AG | Georg Wagner

This is a joint project by DB Cargo AG, Digital Rail Germany (DSD), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail, and will continue until the end of 2025.

The aim of the project is to improve the competitiveness of rail freight transport over road, by better utilising line capacity and improving the speed of transport.

Almost 20 million euros (18.9m euros | 21.91m USD) of funding has been provided by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), as part of its Future Rail Freight Transport programme. DB Cargo will receive 17.5m euros (20.28 USD) of this.

This  project is an important component of the German-Dutch Joint Declaration of Intent on the cooperation in promoting rail freight operations, which was drawn up and signed in 2019 by representatives from both the German and Dutch transport ministries.