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Technical feasibility analysis and introduction strategy of the virtually coupled train set concept

Stickel, Sebastian and Schenker, Moritz and Dittus, Holger and Unterhuber, Paul and Canesi, Stefano and Riquier, Vincent and Parrilla Ayuso, Francisco and Berbineau, Marion and Goikoetxea, Javier (2022) Technical feasibility analysis and introduction strategy of the virtually coupled train set concept. Scientific Reports. Nature Publishing Group. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-08215-y. ISSN 2045-2322.

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Official URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-08215-y


Todays railway network capacity is limited by constraints imposed by traditional train protection systems. A way to overcome those limitations, maximize the railway network performance and also increase the operational flexibility is presented by the Virtually Coupled Train Set (VCTS) concept. This paper evaluates the technical feasibility of this approach, that was developed and is further evaluated in the framework of the Shift2Rail (S2R) project X2Rail-3. The main functionality of virtually coupled train sets is achieved by replacing the mechanical coupler between two railway vehicles by an electronic (virtual) coupling link. This operational change requires a permanent vehicle-to-vehicle communication and precise distance measurement, while enabling much faster coupling and decoupling procedures, increased interoperability and the operation of trains with a headway below absolute braking distance. To evaluate the technical feasibility of the VCTS concept, a series of technical and operational subsystem have been identified and analyzed. Interviews with experts from a variety of VCTS linked topics have been conducted, to evaluate the state of the art and new developments for those subsystems. Subsequently, the capabilities of the subsystems have been compared with the requirements of the VCTS system. In addition, different mitigations to overcome possible obstacles have been identified and evaluated. As the result, the most critical technical aspects for the implementation and success of VCTS have been identified as the requirement of controllable, fast and accurate responding braking systems, the availability of suitable communication technologies and frequency bands, the need for highly-accurate measurement of distance, speed and acceleration and the fast detection and monitoring of train integrity. Considering those results, a qualitative roadmap for the future VCTS development and introduction strategy is derived.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/185644/
Document Type:Article
Title:Technical feasibility analysis and introduction strategy of the virtually coupled train set concept
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Stickel, SebastianUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-0371-3156UNSPECIFIED
Schenker, MoritzUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-7609-5278UNSPECIFIED
Dittus, HolgerUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-3981-5560UNSPECIFIED
Unterhuber, PaulUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-0564-9066UNSPECIFIED
Date:11 March 2022
Journal or Publication Title:Scientific Reports
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Keywords:Virtual coupling, mechanical coupling, relative braking distance, Shift2Rail, X2Rail-3, track capacity, feasibility analysis
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Transport
HGF - Program Themes:Rail Transport
DLR - Research area:Transport
DLR - Program:V SC Schienenverkehr
DLR - Research theme (Project):V - NGT BIT (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Vehicle Concepts > Fahrzeugsysteme und Technologiebewertung
Institute of Vehicle Concepts > Vehicle Energy Concepts
Institute of Communication and Navigation > Communications Systems
Deposited By: Stickel, Sebastian
Deposited On:21 Apr 2022 12:44
Last Modified:29 Mar 2023 00:01

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