© DB AG / Faruk Hosseini

Into the future with Digital Rail

We are digitalizing our entire network and thereby shifting more traffic to Strong Rail. But how do you digitalize a whole rail network? Digital Rail at DB involves two main tasks: upgrading to ETCS (the new wireless European Train Control System) and introducing digital signaling technology. ETCS and digital signaling, in combination with digital planning and dispatching processes, will make it possible for trains to run in closer succession and will foster more flexible operations. 

We are therefore making lines more efficient and generating up to 20 percent more capacity on the existing network. That means more travelers and freight traffic by rail. Standardized systems will also generally make operations less prone to disruption. All of this will help us save emissions and thus protect the environment. 

Digital signal systems under construction

In Annaberg-Buchholz in the state of Saxony the switches and signals on a regional line have been controlled digitally since 2018. The second digital signaling facility went into operation for long distance traffic in Rostock-Warnemünde since October 2019.

These are the first two of 280 digital signaling systems intended to control rail transport across Germany's over 33,000-kilometer network. These high-tech signaling facilities are gradually replacing around 2,500 signaling systems of different types from previous decades.

The next locations to use digital signaling facilities will be Meitingen-Mertingen in Bavaria, the Harz-Weser network in Lower Saxony and the Koblenz-Trier line in Rhineland-Palatinate.