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Galileo applications for rail transportation to be tested at Siemens’ Test and Validation Center in Wegberg-Wildenrath


Erlangen, Germany, In the future, trains are to be equipped with systems that work with positioning information that is provided by satellite. This will be made possible by “Galileo”, the European satellite navigation system, which is to be simulated from 2010 onwards at the rolling stock Test and Validation Center operated by Siemens Mobility in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Germany. A test area for satellite-based navigation for rail systems is already being set up there which will enable tests to be carried out under real conditions before the Galileo system actually goes into operation. By doing so, Siemens is supporting the future-oriented “railGATE” project that is being conducted by RWTH Aachen University and sponsored by the space agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with funds provided by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi). With testing slated to begin in 2010, Galileo is due to enter operation in 2013.

Satellite navigation has not yet gained a foothold in the field of automatic train control (ATC), which involves a considerable level of technical complexity and necessitates a high degree of reliability due to the exceptionally high safety requirements. The main reasons for this are the unreliable positioning function of current GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) such as GPS (Global Positioning System) and the lack of integrity information and an operating guarantee. Galileo, the future satellite navigation system of the European Union, is intended to provide a remedy to this situation.

The “railGATE” project was started in order to give potential users in the field of rail transportation the opportunity to test innovative applications before the real Galileo signal is available. The aim is to explore potential applications for the future Galileo satellite system in rail-bound transportation and to make it even more reliable in future. A test environment is being created on the 35-hectare site of the world’s most modern test and validation center for rolling stock in Wegberg-Wildenrath, which is owned and operated by Siemens. Eight signal generators – called pseudolites – will be mounted on top of 50-meter-high transmission masts and soon transmitting Galileo signals within a locally restricted area.

Trains fitted with receiving devices will be able to receive signals from the nearby pseudolites. This means that positioning system applications for rail transportation, such as for automatic marshaling or for train tracking, can be tested without danger on 28 kilometers of track. In contrast to public railway lines, the tracks in Wegberg-Wildenrath can be used to carry out these tests without having to take into account or interfere with public railway operations. Other advantages of the test and validation center are its location in a wooded area and the existing infrastructure. Therefore, the Galileo system can be tested in different receiving situations, such as on a free section of track, in a forest or in the depot.

The “railGATE” project is an initiative of RWTH Aachen University and is being sponsored by the DLR with funds from the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. “railGATE” is one of two Galileo test fields comprising the joint project GALILEOabove (above being a German acronym which stands for “application center for ground transportation”).

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The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the worldwide leading supplier of production, transportation, building and lighting technologies. With integrated automation technologies as well as comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. The Sector consists of six Divisions: Building Technologies, Drive Technologies, Industry Automation, Industry Solutions, Mobility and Osram. With around 222,000 employees worldwide Siemens Industry posted a profit of EUR3.86 billion with revenues totalling EUR38 billion in fiscal year 2008 (ended September 30).

The Mobility Division (Erlangen, Germany) is the internationally leading provider of transportation and logistics solutions. With its “Complete mobility” approach, the Division is focused on networking the various modes of transportation in order to ensure the efficient transport of people and goods. “Complete mobility” combines the company’s competence in operations control systems for railways and traffic control systems for roadways together with solutions for airport logistics, postal automation, traction power supplies and rolling stock for mass transit, regional and mainline services, turnkey systems as well as forward-looking service concepts.


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