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Hitachi Rail’s digital interlocking passes major milestone for Germany’s Fast-Track Programme (PDF Type, 175kbytes)

February 3, 2022

Hitachi Rail’s digital interlocking passes major milestone for
Germany’s Fast-Track Programme
  • Test campaign witnessed by Deutsche Bahn and the German Federal Railway Authority passed successfully
  • Hitachi Rail’s technology can now be used help Deutsche Bahn digitise and improve the German rail network
  • Collaborative project was carried out at Hitachi’s laboratory in Munich

3 February, 2022 – Deutsche Bahn and the German Federal Railway Authority has witnessed a series of functional and operational tests that proved Hitachi Rail’s capability to adapt its digital interlocking product to German specifications and standards.

The move represents a major step towards Hitachi Rail entering the German interlocking market. While the firm is one of the world’s largest signalling providers, the tests confirmed that its technology was compatible with German SCI (Standard Communication Interfaces) which interface between the interlocking and operations control centre.

Having proved its ability to adapt its technology, Hitachi can partner Deutsche Bahn in its plan to modernize the signalling equipment of the entire network with Digital Interlocking and ETCS, over the next two decades, as part of the “Digitale Schiene Deutschland” (Digital Rail Germany) programme.

This is a major milestone in Germany’s Fast-Track Programme, also known as “Schnellläuferprogramm” (SLP), whose objective is to bring new digital solutions to the market in a very short time by simplifying processes and promoting close cooperation between supplier and operator throughout the project.

Hitachi Rail is specifically responsible for renewing and upgrading the signalling on the Gera- Weischlitz line in Saxony, which includes seven stations across 60 km of single track.

Frank Gülicher, Head of Digital Planning and Construction of Infrastructure Projects (Deutsche Bahn AG) and Head of Digital Signalling and ETCS Project Portfolio (DB Netz AG) said:

“With the SLP, we want to achieve a market expansion with higher capacities and to gather valuable knowledge for the rollout of ‘Digitale Schiene Deutschland’. With Hitachi Rail we have found a new partner for our programme to digitalize the German railway network. We are looking forward to a successful cooperation.”

The digital interlocking systems are a key enabler in the transition towards the digitalization of the rail transport. By fitting the latest interlocking technology to the SLP Gera-Weischlitz line, Hitachi Rail’s team in Germany will help its client to improve operational efficiency and reliability by reducing traffic disruption and delays for passengers and freight traffic based on the extremely high level of requirements in safety and availability at DB.

“The achievement of this important milestone on the SLP Porject Gera – Weischlitz line underlines the strong commitment of Hitachi Rail to play a wider role in the DSD programme and support DB as a trusted technology partner,” says Alessandro De Grazia – Managing Director Hitachi Rail STS Germany, Head of DACH Region (Sales & Projects)

A key player in the global railway industry, Hitachi Rail offers its clients a comprehensive range of advanced solutions and technologies for railway signalling and systems integration, rolling stock, as well as the service, operation and maintenance of conventional and fully autonomous rail systems, to support the transition to more sustainable and decarbonised mobility and societies.

Notes to editors:
  • Fast-Track Programme is an initiative of the German federal government, the rail industry and Deutsche Bahn (DB), and an economic stimulus programme designed to combat the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, safeguard jobs and strengthen industry. In a short time, in seven projects, existing signal and switch technology will be replaced by modern, digital technology. Projects like these usually take much longer to realize, but processes are being improved and standards established to accelerate project execution, in close cooperation with industry. This is an important building block for the digitalization of the railway network within the framework of the DSD programme.
  • SCI = Standard Communication Interface, which is the interface between the interlocking unit (ESTW central – IXL)) and ETCS control center (OCC)

About Hitachi Rail

Hitachi Rail is a fully integrated, global provider of rail solutions across rolling stock, signalling, service & maintenance, digital technology and turnkey solutions. With a presence in 38 countries across six continents and over 12,000 employees, our mission is to contribute to society through the continuous development of superior rail transport solutions. We are proud of our global achievements, from our world -famous ‘bullet trains’, to our signalling solutions and turnkey projects, state–of-the-art traffic management and digital solutions. Drawing on the wider Hitachi Group’s market-leading technology and research-and-development capabilities, we strive for industry leading innovations and solutions that can deliver value for customers and sustainable railway systems that benefit wider society.
For information about Hitachi Rail, visit