Deutsche Bahn: how to manage trains in a smart way

21 November, 2018
Olga Voytikhovich

For many years, Gurtam partners have been implementing Wialon in multiple spheres and now feel at home even in the railway transportation industry. Some time ago, CAST Engineering delivered another challenging project. Go on reading and find out the details.

The challenge

In this particular case, Deutsche Bahn Cargo Bulgaria was focused on maneuvering locomotives for heavy copper smelting industry. They contacted our partner to cope with the following issues:

  • Ineffective planning of the locomotives’ maneuvers at the stations when they had to change the lines multiple times while the drivers kept the engines running up to 22 hours per day;

  • Considerable risk of human errors such as, for example, the chance for the loco driver to miss a foreign object or a person on the railway lines at night. This situation can result in tragic accidents as well as monetary losses;

  • High operational costs and, as a consequence, a weakened ability to remain competitive;

  • Excessive level of carbon emission exceeding the one allowed by the European legislation.

Gurtam partner CAST Engineering offered the solution capable of solving all these issues.

The solution

The hardware part looks like this:

  • GPS/GLONASS on-board terminals to track the train location in real time.

  • Mobile DVRs by Howen Technologies. They provide online video monitoring of the rails and cockpit and save the recordings in digital files archive. In the case of force-majeures, there is always a possibility to view the videos and get to know what happened.

  • High-precision fuel level sensors by Omnicomm and temperature sensors. Here, we should mention that fuel, oil, and water temperature monitoring in locomotives can’t be underestimated. If the engine overheats or becomes too cold (as it is used in a wide temperature range from over +30℃ to -15℃), it can get out of order and end up in a costly repair. We are sure you know where to spend up to 10 thousand dollars.

Then, there is the software part. Two interfaces are used that allow analyzing and displaying telematics data. 

  • 24/7 control room uses Sensolator that shows temperature values, fuel level, speed, mileage, ignition status, and other parameters in real time.

The challenge

  • Dashboard is for the company management to analyze engine hours, mileage, average speed, fuel consumption, etc. and displays the results in easy-to-grasp charts and diagrams.

  • The maneuvers planning issue is easily solved in the monitoring interface with Routes module. Now, locomotives operate effectively at the stations as opposed to what was before:

They could arrive, let’s say, at the North side of the station → unload there → go to the South side to get loaded → again return to the North side to depart from the station. It was burning extra fuel, and causing the trains to spend more time at the station than needed.

The challenge

There is also one more useful feature that has a huge impact on the safety – digital warning system. When the loco driver overspeeds, it triggers a notification for the control room. Moreover, the red light signal lights up on the driver’s panel in the cockpit which helps to prevent accidents.

The results

Take a look at what Deutsche Bahn Cargo Bulgaria achieved with CAST Engineering and Wialon:

  • Fuel consumption reduced by 24%;

  • Idling time reduced by 18%;

  • Efficient maneuvers planning helps to extend the locos lifecycle and reduce operational costs;

  • DB Cargo Bulgaria met the goal of reducing the carbon dioxide emissions by 20% and was able to receive the Green certificate. As we see, with the help of Wialon, it is possible to be eco-friendly even using a diesel engine.

The challenge

We hope you got inspired by this excellent example of Wialon usage and now have some interesting ideas on your mind just waiting to be put into action. Meanwhile, we are excited to hear about your projects that already work. Send your stories to or fill in a special form at in “Marketing support” section.

Olga Voytikhovich
Olga Voytikhovich
Olga is a content editor at Gurtam. She proofreads and reviews other authors' materials, also writes about Gurtam products, presents partner use cases in the best way possible, and tells about the system updates. In fact, Olga helps out with the content of almost all Gurtam resources.


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