Financial support for the project
The importance of this
mobility milestone can also be seen in the project’s financial scope: On
Monday, December 13, 2021, Hessian Minister for Economic Affairs, Energy,
Transport and Housing, Tarek Al-Wazir, officially granted funding of €95.5
million to the VGF to co-finance the project, together with the Federal Government
and the state of Hesse.
is “Communication Based Train Control”?
Digital train control systems such as the DTC Frankfurt
are known in the industry as Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) systems. All
nine lines of Frankfurt’s metro system are to be converted to digital train
control by 2031. The conversion will begin with the “B route” (lines U4 and U5),
including the U5 extension to the Europaviertel, and is currently planned to
begin operation in 2025.
CBTC functions as a complex system of signals and
messages that enables permanent exchanges between trains and rail infrastructure
in real time. Various components on the rail line and in the trains enable this
radio-based, bidirectional data communication between trains and infrastructure
so constantly transmit route-relevant information to the trains. A short film
produced by the VGF clearly explains the complex system and is available for
viewing on the company’s innovation website:
DTC - Innovation VGF (vgf-ffm.de)
are the advantages of digital train control?
This form of data transmission makes it possible to dispense
with conventional signals, which reduces maintenance costs. In addition, the VGF
can use the digital train control system to increase the capacity and efficiency
of its routes, particularly in the underground sections.
services – offering more trains and shorter intervals, which is essential for
achieving a mobility transition including a general switch from cars to public
transport – is the central aspect of rail modernization. CBTC systems enable trains
to run in what is known as a “wandering spatial distance”, which means that the
trains operate with just the braking distance between them, rather than in
fixed block sections as at present. This makes it possible to run trains at
shorter intervals, which will enable the VGF to increase its capacity by up to
25 percent – for example on the “A route”, served by Lines U1, U2, U3 and U8 –
without having to expand or construct new lines, which is not only expensive
and often draws protests, but also takes considerable time.
State-of-the-art, high-performance train control
technology not only enables more trains to operate on a route, but also ensures
greater punctuality and reliability. The system enables more energy-efficient
driving – with savings up to 20 percent possible – and provides greater
passenger comfort through gentler acceleration and braking. This, in turn, also
reduces wear and tear on both trains and rails.
All in all, a CBTC train control system will increase
the capacity and attractiveness of the metro system, which is ultimately intended
to increase the share of public transport in urban traffic. This will directly
contribute to a reduction of pollutant emissions and ensure cleaner air in the
Train Control System Frankfurt” or “CBTC”?
“Digital Train Control System Frankfurt” is the name
used by the VGF for a digital CBTC train control system. The basis for introducing
the system was created in the company around three years ago. Our
press release of December 20, 2019, which is
available on our website, contains further information on the relationship between
public transport and private motorized transport, as well as on the federal
funding of the project.