Deutsche Bahn (DB), Stadler and its engineering joint venture AngelStar have prepared DB Cargo locomotives retrofitted with ETCS for the first time without the involvement of the locomotive manufacturer.
Following successful retrofitting, two DB Cargo locomotives are now back on the tracks with the Guardia Baseline 3.4.0 ETCS automatic train protection system. This is the first retrofitting of DB locomotives from the 185.2 series with the ETCS system from Stadler. The pilot project by Stadler, DB and AngelStar therefore required particularly complex pioneering work before the first locomotive received its re-approval as “First of Class”.
“In the course of this challenging retrofit project, we were once again able to demonstrate the quality and flexibility of the GUARDIA system. Along with the agile organisation, these are the best possible prerequisites for further retrofit projects,” Oliver Kaiser, COO of AngelStar, said.
Stadler says that the official approval was much simpler for the second locomotive converted in the same way, since it was deemed to be structurally identical, it was awarded “Conformity to Type” status. All future retrofits performed in this manner can now refer back to this model.
“Stadler has deliberately broken new ground with this retrofit project in order to simplify the retrofitting of modern signalling technology in existing vehicles. With this innovation, we can create the urgently needed capacity in the rail industry to transport the large number of existing vehicles in Europe into the digital future”, says Ansgar Brockmeyer, the Head of the Sales & Marketing Division and Deputy Group CEO of Stadler.
Manufacturers’ capacities are considered likely to be one of the potential bottlenecks when around 13,000 locomotives and multiple units in Germany have to be retrofitted for ETCS in the coming years.
“The fact that Stadler and AngelStar, DB Cargo and DB Systemtechnik have now together succeeded in retrofitting ETCS without the involvement of the vehicle manufacturer opens up new paths and strengthens competition. This will significantly facilitate the ETCS roll-out for the entire industry in Germany,” Hans Peter Lang, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at DB Group and Chairman of the Management Board of DB Systemtechnik, said.
Until now, Stadler had mainly been accustomed to carrying out retrofit orders for its own vehicles. Stadler received its first retrofit order for Guardia in 2020 from the Dutch rail operator Arriva. Some of its 34 Flirt vehicles are also used for cross-border transport in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.