Technologies for tomorrow
The family of trains from the Next-Generation Train (NGT) conceptFrom left to right: NGT LINK shuttle train, NGT HST high-speed train and NGT CARGO freight train.
NGT Link shuttle trainThe NGT LINK is a concept for a double-decker, interregional train that connects cities and metropolitan areas.
The NGT FuN research infrastructureAs part of the NGT concept, DLR is also working on a new chassis concept for the future: each wheel is driven individually and controlled intelligently.
Alternative drive solutions for rail transportIn the EU project FCH2Rail, DLR, as part of a consortium, is developing and testing a new type of train prototype. This has a hybrid, bi-modal drive system that combines the electrical energy supply from the overhead line with an energy supply from fuel cells and batteries that is independent of the overhead line.
What will train stations look like in future?In the field of rail transport, DLR researchers are also investigating how train stations and rail infrastructure can be made fit for the future.
Generic Train Laboratory at the DLR in GöttingenThermal mannequins representing humans sit in the train laboratory to simulate the heat barriers and emissions represented by the passengers. Air flow is visualised using fog in order to examine innovative concepts for air conditioning.
The railway was one of the most significant inventions to come out of industrialisation. It remains an abiding source of fascination, but now this world of locomotives, wagons, rails and signals is now associated with plenty of cutting-edge technology. Digitalisation, automation, new communications technologies and standards, modern materials and production engineering and the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence have the potential to make rail transport much more appealing and competitive in future. They pave the way for significantly higher capacity on the tracks and greater efficiency overall. At the same time, they promise less energy consumption and increased security, punctuality and comfort.
DLR research for future rail systems
There is a huge need for forward-looking technologies and solutions for the railways of tomorrow, and that is exactly where DLR's research into rail transport comes into play. State-of-the-art, climate-conscious and environment-friendly rail transport will play a key role in the mobility transition. Switching from private cars and short flights to trains is only possible if the available options are appealing in their own right. The same applies to shifting freight transport from the road back to the railway. With that in mind, DLR is conducting research into infrastructure and operational framework conditions, devising new, capacity-enhancing concepts for operation, infrastructure and vehicles, and devising innovative maintenance methods.
Next-Generation Train – visualising and bringing together ideas and technologies
Under its flagship 'Next-Generation Train (NGT)' concept, DLR is developing a vision of future rail transport as an essential part of mobility geared towards sustainability and greater capacity. New technologies from the fields of propulsion systems, aerodynamics, lightweight construction, chassis design, crash behaviour, air conditioning, automation, control and regulation all feed into the NGT concept. All of these developments and concepts are aimed at enhancing the role of rail transport can play in the mobility transition.
A whole family of trains has been created. The NGT HST (High-Speed Train) is a double-decker, high-speed multiple-unit train that can travel at up to 400 kilometres per hour. The NGT LINK is a double-decker, interregional train that connects cities and metropolitan areas. The NGT CARGO is a fast, quiet, automatic freight train that can be assembled from individual cars and powered end cars as required. This allows goods to be transported flexibly, quickly, reliably and without expending excessive resources.
The guiding concept behind the Next Generation Train is constantly being expanded. It now includes concepts for future-forward train stations and logistics terminals. In the near future, it will incorporate ideas for autonomous and needs-based railbuses (NGT TAXI) and their role in regional mobility concepts.
As a founding member of the EU-Rail Horizon Europe partnership, DLR is working with European rail operators and industry players to further develop the rail system. A total of 13 DLR institutes are contributing to the project with their teams, expertise, research facilities and enthusiasm for research, development and the transfer of innovations for rail transport.
A high-tech chassis for the train of the futureThe chassis of a train is a key factor for fast, reliable, safe and comfortable rail transport. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is working on a new, chassis design for the future as part of its Next Generation Train (NGT) concept, with each wheel driven individually and controlled with smart technology.
Rethinking old technologies – Slip coaching and virtual couplingMoving a great deal of our transport from the roads onto the rails will benefit the climate in future. Over the last 10 years, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) has been working on new ideas to make rail transport more attractive for carrying both passengers and freight.
DLRmagazine 169 – Jumping on board the digital transformationModern rail transport plays an important role in achieving the climate goals in the transport sector. But the potential here has not yet been exhausted. The DLRmagazine provides an insight into the areas in which research is being carried out within DLR. It also presents experiments conducted by ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer during his Cosmic Kiss mission and addresses the question of what needs to change if aircraft are to run on hydrogen in the future.
DLRmagazine 169 – Jumping on board the digital transformationModern rail transport plays an important role in achieving the climate goals in the transport sector. But the potential here has not yet been exhausted. The DLRmagazine provides an insight into the areas in which research is being
Denise NüssleEditorGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)
Communications and Media RelationsTelephone: +49 711 6862-8086
Fax: +49 711 6862-636Pfaffenwaldring 38-40Contact
Prof. Dr. -Ing Tjark SiefkesDirector of the InstituteGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)Institute of Vehicle ConceptsPfaffenwaldring 38-40Contact
Michael Meyer zu HörsteGerman Aerospace Center (DLR)Institute of Transport Research
Railway SystemsRutherfordstraße 2Contact