MODTRAIN demonstrator wows crowds at INNOTRANS
MODTRAIN was at the heart of the INNOTRANS exhibition, where visitors walked through an integrated demonstrator featuring a new driving cab and passenger areas. It was the first time both of these MODTRAIN elements were on display to the public at large.
Many obstacles still stand in the way of European cross-border railway traffic, including a variety of power supply systems, signalling, operational rules and, in some cases, different gauges. The EU-funded MODTRAIN project is developing functional electrical and mechanical interfaces and validation procedures for interchangeable modules that will form the basis of the next generation of intercity trains and universal locomotives.
Premiere rail event
This year’s INNOTRANS conference in Berlin featured an impressive exhibition dominated by a full-scale MODTRAIN mock-up. Important new elements included work by EUCAB, looking at driver’s cab layout, and EUPAX, considering the passenger environment and disabled access. Both EUCAB and EUPAX fall under the MODTRAIN MODLINK subproject.
MODLINK is the largest of four MODTRAIN subprojects. Its priorities include:
EUCAB – Driver-machine interface
EUPAX – Passenger-crew interface
EUCOUPLER – Train-to-train high capacity data interface
MODLINK is jointly led by FAV Transport Technology Systems and Bombardier Transportation. Close collaboration among all partners, including representatives of the manufacturing industry, rail operators and users, has made MODLINK a valuable contributor to future European railway harmonisation and standardisation.
Improving safety is a major priority behind the development of a new train ‘driver’s desk’. At the same time, equipment suppliers who currently must develop unique solutions for each customer could profit from ‘economies of scale’, were driver’s cabs upgraded and standardised.
The new EUCAB cab driver’s area makes use of work carried out in the EUDD project, completed in 2003. The expected results of the EUCAB project include:
- Increased staff flexibility and reduced life cycle costs for railway operators
- Increased competitiveness of railway systems vis-à-vis other modes of transport
- Improved safety and improved working conditions for drivers
- Improved reliability through replacement of electro-mechanical displays by fully electronic ones
- Reduced manufacturing costs and shorter ‘time-to-market’ for the supply industry
- New business opportunities through refurbishment and retrofits
Speaking at INNOTRANS, European Commission representative William Bird said, “In the field of rolling stock, EU-funded Integrated Projects have established a new niche in collaborative research where the whole sector is coming together. We now have MODLINK, with EUCAB and EUPAX, amongst other projects, all having a real impact and helping to shape the trains of the future.”
EUCAB and EUPAX up close
The mock-up of the new driver's cab at the INNOTRANS exhibition included a realistic video presentation on the windscreen, simulating the view from a real cabin. MODLINK partners were on hand to distribute questionnaires aimed at gauging opinion on cab and passenger area layouts. EUPAX has placed particular emphasis on accommodating people of reduced mobility (PRM) – not just wheelchair users but also individuals with reduced sight.
MODLINK representatives also attended the parallel UNIFE conference on ‘Integration of the European Systems: The Way Forward’.