The high-speed train NGT CARGO
NGT Car­go - lo­gis­tics con­cept for freight trans­port
Image 1/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

NGT Cargo - logistics concept for freight transport

The high-speed train NGT CAR­GO is part of an in­te­grat­ed lo­gis­tics con­cept to make fu­ture rail freight trans­port more at­trac­tive. It con­sists of car­go wag­ons and lo­co­mo­tives that can be au­to­mat­i­cal­ly as­sem­bled – in sep­a­rate parts or as a group – and driv­en via a cen­tral­ly con­trolled sys­tem.
Land-based trans­port
Image 2/6, Credit: DLR/

Land-based transport

ICE rail route from Cologne to Frank­furt run­ning along­side the A3 Ger­man mo­tor­way.
Overview of rails, switches and cable systems
Switch­es and rails know when to wait
Image 3/6, Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Switches and rails know when to wait

In or­der to main­tain the rail freight trans­port in­fras­truc­ture be­fore it is dam­aged or fails, it is nec­es­sary to mon­i­tor rails, switch­es and ca­ble sys­tems con­tin­u­ous­ly and au­to­mat­i­cal­ly. The colours in­di­cate the de­gree of wear and tear on the track sec­tions.
The Next Generation Train
The Next Gen­er­a­tion Train
Image 4/6, Credit: DLR.

The Next Generation Train

In the Next Gen­er­a­tion Train (NGT) project, DLR per­son­nel from nine re­search in­sti­tutes are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the gen­er­al con­di­tions for the high-speed trains of the fu­ture. This in­cludes, in par­tic­u­lar, sci­en­tif­ic ques­tions re­lat­ing to high-speed rail trans­port in the fields of aero­dy­nam­ics, struc­tural dy­nam­ics, the dy­nam­ics of ve­hi­cle move­ment, propul­sion, en­er­gy man­age­ment, ma­te­ri­als sci­ence and lightweight con­struc­tion. The goal is the de­vel­op­ment of high-speed trains suit­able for type ap­proval and with great­ly re­duced spe­cif­ic en­er­gy re­quire­ments as well as im­proved pas­sen­ger com­fort and noise char­ac­ter­is­tics.
High-speed freight trains
Image 5/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

High-speed freight trains

In ad­di­tion to in­no­va­tive train con­cepts for pas­sen­ger trains, DLR is al­so look­ing in­to the pos­si­bil­i­ties of mak­ing freight trans­port more time-ef­fi­cient by us­ing high-speed trains. The Next Gen­er­a­tion Train (NGT) con­cepts are now be­ing ex­pand­ed to in­clude a freight train vari­ant called NGT CAR­GO, a dou­ble-deck­er con­cept, which will be able to trans­port goods at speeds of over 200 kilo­me­tres per hour.
Pursuit in a high-speed train
Pur­suit in a high-speed train
Image 6/6, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Pursuit in a high-speed train

Da­ta trans­mis­sion be­tween two high-speed trains was in­ves­ti­gat­ed dur­ing a mea­sure­ment cam­paign on a rail route be­tween Naples and Rome in mid April 2016. Se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems are im­por­tant to en­sure that in fu­ture trains can au­tonomous­ly con­nect – and if nec­es­sary dis­con­nect –whilst in mo­tion, for ex­am­ple.

A sustainable transport system that is viable in the long term from an economic, ecological and social point of view can only be achieved with modern, reliable and efficient rail transport. For this reason, DLR is also following a systematic research approach for this mode of transport. Under the guiding concept of the Next Generation Train, researchers are working on the technological development of rail vehicles, which also involves a variety of approaches drawn from the road vehicle and aircraft manufacturing industries, including hybrid propulsion systems, lightweight designs and improved aerodynamics.

However, in order to further develop the rail system in the most efficient way possible and to boost its competitiveness, it is necessary to observe, analyse and, if necessary, adjust the infrastructural and rail management frameworks in a targeted way. This includes new, capacity-enhancing operational concepts using the potential offered by digital technologies. Predictive maintenance should also be mentioned in this context since it can reduce maintenance costs significantly and prevent failures of the control and safety equipment. Other DLR research topics include migration strategies for automated rail transport and the future roles to be played by control centre operators and train drivers in managing vehicle routing and in monitoring train movements.

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