Saint-Gobain and SNCF test digital freight train

French rail operator SNCF and engineering firm Saint-Gobin say they have been successfully testing a pilot ‘digitised’ freight train between Dunkerque and Dieulouard.

Test trains carrying raw materials to the Saint-Gobin plant in Dieulouard, which manufactures iron tubes, have been making the journey for a year. The wagons use a technology developed by Traxens to track and trace temperature in refrigerated sea shipping containers using digital devices like tablets or smartphones.


The specialised application for rail freight trains enables not only the control of the wagon temperature but also the weight of goods and frequency of drivers’ breaks. Train drivers have also been prompted to check the break situation, as it is recommended to have several drivers in each rail freight train to avoid accidents.

This test has been successful and is being seen as a key step to integrating modern technologies already frequently used in road and sea shipping industries to the rail freight industry. SNCF Logistics signed a partnership agreement with Traxens in March 2017. General Manager of SNCF Logistics Alan Picard said: “The digital rail freight is a key innovation for industry in the 21st century. Our association with Traxens will help us improve our services to all the players in the sector.”


Saint-Gobain is a historical French manufacturer, having been founded in the 1600s by the monarchy to supply mirrors to their palaces and avoid the high cost of buying them from Venetian producers and its dangerous transport to France. It’s now a successful multinational company, providing engineering materials to the construction, military, healthcare, aerospace and automotive industries. It is also one of the biggest customers of the french rail freight network.

Author: Simon Weedy

Simon is a journalist for - a dedicated online platform for all the news about the rail freight sector

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