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Automating brake tests

Automating brake tests

14 January 2019

Fret SNCF is the first railway in Europe to implement automated brake testing on commercial freight trains according to its Director of Wagon Management Nicolas Czernecki. SNCF expects to have up to 150 wagons equipped with digital services by the end of the year under a pilot programme for bulk customer Novacarb. These will be used on three block trains on which automated brake testing will be deployed. At the heart of the development is a partnership between SNCF and digital start-up Traxens, based in Marseille. Traxens has fitted the wagons with remotely programmable digital devices which are connected wirelessly to sensors and actuators. This allows data to be transmitted within the train and to the cloud. The company anticipates that around 5,000 wagons will be fitted by the end of 2018 and 15,000 by the end of 2019. Known as a Traxens-BOX, the battery-powered device can be fitted to a wagon in around 15 minutes and does not require the wagon to be sent to a workshop. Once installed, the devices form a cluster, communicating with each other to 'elect' a lead device for the actual data transmission, based on its battery and communications ability. Traxens is now working on a project to provide digital assistance for remote loading and unloading of wagons.

Railway Gazette International, Dec. 2018. p.23.