Research into digital railway technology planned in the Ore Mountains

A press release from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) dated 31.07.2020, including a statement by Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Executive Board, Infrastructure, Deutsche Bahn AG. The Chemnitz University of Technology and Deutsche Bahn AG want to use federal funding to test technologies for the digitalisation and automation of rail transport under real conditions. The "Digital Railway Test Field" is to be set up along the line operated by the Erzgebirgsbahn between Annaberg-Buchholz and Schwarzenberg.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer: "We want to continue to convince people of the benefits of the railway. This can only be done with more digitalisation - on the train and on the track. In the Ore Mountains we want to research and test these technologies: from digital control and safety technology to measures for better reception."

Minister President Michael Kretschmer: "I am delighted about the commitment and support of the federal government for this unique and ambitious project. Here in Annaberg-Buchholz, it is all about practical research into mobility and rail travel of the future. The joint commitment of all those involved not only strengthens Germany as a location for innovation, it also brings the economic region of the Erzgebirge and the whole of Saxony further forward. 
Kretschmer pointed out that the state government has long been a strong supporter of the research project. In this context, he announced that the Free State will finance the position of a coordinator who will support the Chemnitz University of Technology in the planning, control and realisation of the local research infrastructure."

Deutsche Bahn Infrastructure Director Ronald Pofalla: "The digital future of the railway has already begun in the Ore Mountains. Since 2018, Europe's first digital interlocking in Annaberg-Buchholz has been reliably controlling operations. Now we are further expanding the test field and working very intensively on the use of the mobile radio standard 5G for railway operations."

Rolf Schmidt, Lord Mayor of the town of Annaberg-Buchholz: "We are very pleased that the federal government and the state of Saxony are supporting the joint idea of the town of Annaberg-Buchholz and the Chemnitz University of Technology for research in rural areas. The Campus Project is intended to develop both our town of Annaberg-Buchholz and the Ore Mountains into a leading location for research into new railway technologies. This project will be an effective impulse for the implementation of sustainable structural change in our region."

Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, Rector of TU Chemnitz: "We are extremely pleased to be able to conduct cutting-edge research for the highly automated and sustainable rail transport of the future on a unique test track in the Ore Mountains with the support of the federal government and the Free State, and in close cooperation with the city of Annaberg-Buchholz."

To establish a corresponding research platform, the federal government is providing funds for construction and acquisition measures of up to 15 million euros after reviewing the budgetary and state aid constraints. At its core, this involves three elements the construction of 5G radio masts, supplying media and other field elements along the Annaberg-Buchholz - Schwarzenberg railway line the modernisation and extension of existing buildings along the line with work and operating rooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology the acquisition and conversion of traction units as test trains.