Stuttgart implements ATO in German railways first

  • July 5, 2021
  • William Payne

Alstom is retrofitting 118 trains in south west Germany with automatic train operation (ATO) digital signalling technology. The contract, signed with the Baden-Württemberg State Institute for Rail Vehicles (SFBW), is valued at €130 million.

The contract marks the first implementation of ATO on German mainline railways.

The trains, which run on the state of Baden-Württemberg’s regional network, including the high-traffic Stuttgart network, will be fitted with European Train Control System (ETCS) compliant software. 

The contract includes an innovation cooperation agreement software maintenance contract and a contract for further maintenance.

The trains come from several different suppliers and will be upgraded with the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2 and 3 as well as Automatic Train Operation (ATO) level 2 (GoA2) technology. 

The initial upgrade project will be completed by 2024 and the subsequent upgrade, according to the European Technical Specifications for Interoperability 2022, will be completed by 2027.

Highly automated GoA 2 ATO is being used for the first time in Germany on the Stuttgart network, with the implementation  of ETCS Level 2 in the Stuttgart Digital Node. When completed in 2024, the new signalling technology will increase capacity and frequency on the Stuttgart network while also making the trains performance more sustainable.

“In addition to equipping Stuttgart’s S-Bahn trains with our latest digital signalling technology, we are pleased to now be retrofitting the network’s regional trains as well. This will enable us to make an even greater contribution to the Stuttgart Digital Node lighthouse project and to the digitalisation of German rail transport,” said Michael Konias, Head of Digital & Integrated Systems at Alstom for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “The assignment once again underlines our growth in the field of signalling technology and the positive synergies resulting from the Bombardier Transportation acquisition,” said Konias.

As part of the agreed innovation cooperation, Alstom and SFBW will also define the requirements for Train Integrity Monitoring (TIM), Future Railway Mobile Communication System upgrade capability, Train Capability and for Open CCS On-board Reference Architecture (OCORA). The implementation of the developed requirements by Alstom is part of the contract, as is the software maintenance of the regional trains.

The project is being carried out by the Alstom signalling site in Berlin, Germany, in cooperation with the ETCS competence centre in Charleroi, Belgium. Other locations involved in the various project phases are Braunschweig, Salzgitter, Mannheim and Hennigsdorf in Germany as well as Bangalore, India, Bucharest, Romania and Lyon-Villeurbanne, France. The series installation will take place close to Stuttgart or in Hennigsdorf.