Frankfurt U-Bahn (Photo: Siemens Mobility)

GERMANY: Frankfurt transport operator VGF has selected Siemens Mobility for the Digital Train Control Frankfurt contract to replace the conventional train control systems on its U-Bahn and tram networks with communications-based train control.

Wireless digital communications between the control system and the vehicles will enable services to run at headways defined by braking distances rather than fixed blocks. This moving block operation is expected to increase capacity by up to 25% without the need to build new infrastructure, which VGF said ‘is not only expensive and often draws protests, but also takes considerable time’.

The project is of ‘outstanding importance’ for the transport network, and will make the city and VGF ‘leaders nationwide’, said Frankfurt’s cabinet member for Transport Stefan Majer, adding that it ‘will mark the first time a communication-based train control system is used in a German city.’

Siemens will supply its Trainguard MT CBTC, with the nine metro lines planned to go live in 2025-31, followed by the tramway. Installation is to start on the ‘B route’ carrying lines U4 and U5, including the U5 extension to Europaviertel which is expected to open in 2025.

‘Our technology combines maximum availability, maximum line capacity, shortened intervals and up to 20% less energy consumption with the highest possible level of safety’, said Andre Rodenbeck, CEO Rail Infrastructure at Siemens Mobility, when the company was named preferred bidder on December 14. ‘In the future, metro trains in the Frankfurt network will be able to run every 2 min’.

The Land of Hessen approved €95·5m of funding for the project on December 13, and the federal government is providing €12m.