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ÖBB-Infrastruktur and Thales work on cloud-interlocking

  • Sustainable, climate-friendly mobility relies on the railways. Today and even more in the future. An attractive offer for railway passengers with tight timetables and punctual trains needs an infrastructure with maximal availabilty. Not only tracks, switches, sensors, but also the technical systems that guarantee safe operation have to work with clockwork precision.
  • Also in signalling technology digitization will herald a new age. There are currently 660 interlockings installed within the ÖBB network, 298 are electronic interlockings. In the future, train operations could be controlled from a central data centre with an interlocking in the cloud. This enables the necessary capacities for the mobility of the future.

Digitization plays a vital role in the necessary capacity increase. It helps to use the rail infrastructure as efficiently as possible. More trains will be able to use the ÖBB rail network more energy-efficiently and at lower costs. Within the safety-critical railway environment one challenge with digitalization is to make technologies like cloud computing, wireless communication or Industrial IoT solutions usable under the highest safety requirements whilst guaranteeing the maximum availability of the system.

For this, it is necessary to successfully transfer the existing infrastructure to the digital age in order to secure the previous investments.

Thales and ÖBB work intensively together on new technologies, on the associated solutions and the gradual digitization of the entire current portfolio - including migration and compatibility matters.

For the first time in Austria, a live demonstration presented how an interlocking can run in the cloud. In order to set the signals and points in the Wöllersdorf area from Vienna, the control of the interlocking at Wöllersdorf train station was temporarily taken over by a central computer at Thales. The demonstration has shown that the right path has been taken. The next task now is to make this innovation usable in daily operations as quickly as possible.

„The future of mobility is clearly on the rail. We have to build the capacities today for the rapidly growing passenger and freight traffic of tomorrow. With Thales, we can bundle the technology within operational management in a way, that enables us to further increase the level of automation. The task now is to push the implementation of digital interlocking technology and thus to optimally use the full potential of the rail network as well as the positive cost effects for the transition in mobility.“ Johann Pluy, Member of the board of directors at ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG 

“Digitization is key in all of Thales' business areas, including the rail sector. Among other things, we want to support ÖBB in being able to carry out the generation change of interlockings – from decentralised electronic to centralised cloud interlockings – as quick as possible. In our strategy we pay great attention to an intelligent migration concept with a step-by-step implementation. Previous investments must also be usable in the future.” Hannes Boyer, Thales