From smart wagon to smart train in 2022

TX Logistik AG and Mercitalia Intermodal cooperate in a new project aiming to optimise combined transport (CT) operations. The companies will test innovative sensors and communication technologies to make freight wagons used in combined transport smarter, more efficient and safer.

The pilot test for the project will last around 15 months and is expected to deliver its final results in spring 2023. During the testing period, freight wagons owned by TX Logistik and Mercitali Intermodal will test a range of sensors and communication technologies to see how digital technologies can help optimise combined transport.

The ‘smart wagons’, as the companies call them, will be operated in various combined transport routes where TX Logfistilk is active. The aim is to move from ‘smart wagons’ to ‘smart trains’ where wagons will connect to each other, enabling Automatic Breaking. The technology partners for this experiment are Nexxiot and PJM, and they will provide the equipment and digital tools to undertake the pilot test.

Sensors used on the wagons. Source TX Logistik AG.

Kingpin locks the main focus

During the tests, sensors will collect data and monitor the condition of the wagon braking system and record the mileage showcasing where exactly the wagons are anytime. Moreover, the same data will be used for predictive wagon maintenance, which is more efficient than mileage-based maintenance.

However, most importantly, the sensors will pay special attention to the wagons’ trestle monitoring system, which, as TX Logistik underlines, is particularly important in combined transport. Specifically, the used technology will monitor the wagon kingpin position, whether the locking status is stable, and also the loading condition of wagons.

Checking constantly the trestle system of the wagons is critical since it can help avoid situations like last year in Denmark, where an incident involving an unstable kingpin lock on the Great Belt Bridge resulted in a three-month ban of semi-trailers on pocket wagons in Denmark.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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