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June 19, 2018

Future Rail – Issue 63

In this issue: Tracking cargo with digital technologies, the 18km Fehmarnbelt tunnel, upgrading New York City’s subway, 165 years of Indian Railways, plans to reform France’s SNCF rail company, UK track electrification plans, and more.

By Katie Woodward

DB Cargo has committed to digitalising its freight wagon fleet by 2020. The project will involve fitting 70,000 wagons in Germany with state-of-the-art sensors and telematics systems, which will enable wagon tracking and provide information about occupancy, temperature and humidity levels. We find out about the technical challenges and the outlook for digitalising rail freight and cargo across the industry.

In infrastructure, we profile the 18km Fehmarnbelt tunnel that will connect Denmark and Germany as it approaches the construction phase, find out if the UK will ­­regret ditching its rail electrification projects, and hear about upgrading New York City subway’s ageing signalling system.

Elsewhere, we take a deep look into the 165 years of Indian Railways and the heritage of the company, from the days of the British Raj to becoming a modern-day superpower, and examine the controversy surrounding French President Emmanuel Macron’s reformation of the SNCF and ask whether this is the first step towards privatised national rail in the country.

Click here to read the latest rail industry news and analysis, and join the conversation on Twitter.

In this issue

Timeline: 165 years of history on Indian Railways
In April, Indian Railways celebrated 165 years since its first passenger trains went into service in the country. Joe Baker takes a deeper look at the long and complex history of one of the world’s largest rail employers.
Read the article here.

French rail reform: is SNCF on the brink of privatisation?
The French railway sector is in upheaval over President Emmanuel Macron’s promise to reform the country’s state-owned railway SNCF. Eva Grey takes a closer look at the issue and what it could mean for workers’ rights.
Read the article here.

Tracking cargo: the next step for rail freight operators?
Heralded by many commentators as the fourth industrial revolution, digitalisation has become a buzzword for rail freight operators looking to enhance their services. Joe Baker finds out more about the new monitoring technologies being used to track freight.
Read the article here.

New York City subway: sending the right signals
For years, New York’s subway system has been in a state of crisis, as ageing infrastructure, lack of investment and poorly-timed repairs have led to excruciating delays. Eva Grey finds out whether an ambitious new plan could help.
Read the article here.

The Fehmarnbelt tunnel: delivering a new European link
The immersed Fehmarnbelt tunnel that will connect Denmark and Germany is gearing up for construction, ahead of schedule. Once completed, it will become the world’s longest road and rail tunnel, as Eva Grey reports.
Read the article here.

Will the UK ever get electrification back on track?
The UK’s National Audit Office has published the findings of its investigation into the decision to cancel three rail electrification projects, a move that was widely criticised at the time. Joe Baker asks, what are the arguments for electrification?
Read the article here.

Preview – Future Rail August

A technology first used in wind turbines is now being used to cut fuel emission in trains. Created by Edinburgh-based Artemis Intelligent Power, the digitally controlled hydraulic pump is being used by train operator ScotRail to save over 9,000 litres of diesel per carriage per year. We find out more about the project and how digital displacement technologies could be used to cut fuel by up to 30%

In infrastructure, we map the most significant and innovative of the 63 automated metro lines worldwide, and find out more about Network Rail’s project to cut down trees that drop leaves across 20,000 miles of its track in an attempt to reduce delays and disruption.

Elsewhere, we learn how Sweden’s national train operator, SJ, is using augmented reality to help passengers navigate its stations, gather the views of industry experts on how rail fares could be improved in the future in a special roundtable feature, and take a look at the world’s most dangerous rail journeys.

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