RailWatch rolls-out monitoring system in three more countries

A measurement station Measurement station capturing a train on the go

The German data provider company RailWatch leaps ahead with deploying its wayside wagon monitoring system across Europe. In 2021 RailWatch expanded its control stations in Germany while it partnered up with METRANS to develop the DigiTwin inspection and measuring system. Currently, the company is expanding its station network with new installations in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Michel Breuer, RailWatch’s CEO and Co-founder, is excited about the development: “This is a huge step for us,” he comments. The two new monitoring stations are positioned in Allmendingen, Switzerland, Leipnik, Czechia. Two more are established in the Netherlands, where RailWatch cooperates with Dutch company Sitech Services to monitor wagons travelling to and from the Chemelot chemical plant.

What’s more to come? The German company dreams big. “We will offer our customers the highest possible data quality and always the latest conditions. We will achieve this primarily by taking a large number of measurements at as many locations as possible. For 2022, the next step is to set up stations in France and Slovakia,” they highlight.

Partnership with METRANS

RailWatch has been monitoring wagons in Germany, where it also collaborates with METRANS through the DigiTwin project. DigiTwin is a measurement system used to inspect the safety condition of freight wagons before the train departs. The companies will test the new tool until 2023 under the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure funding.

In particular, the DigiTwin system will collect data from wheel profiles, wheel flats, heat build-up, under-floor, side views and loading gauge clearance. It will also take thousands of pictures from the wagons. All these data will compile a ‘Digital Twin version’ of each wagon with the help of artificial intelligence software.

Additionally, data assessment will be compatible with the General Contract of Use for wagons (GCU) which defines the rights and obligations of Wagon Keepers and Railway Undertakings.

Arab investment opens new borders

In summer 2021, the Bonn-based company secured a new shareholder: Agartha Fund LP from Abu Dhabi joined RailWatch with an investment of 3,5 million euros. This investment opens up the export of its Wayside Monitoring System – Pulsar technology – to countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and China.

“This capital increase supports the rollout of the Pulsar technology in neighbouring countries of Germany and opens the way to the placement of the system in Eurasian countries”, mentioned the company back then. The company will first install the Pulsar technology in Kazakhstan.

Wayside monitoring system

The Wayside Monitoring System of RailWatch automatically recognises failures before or after train departures near industrial sites, ports, terminals, or along rail freight corridors. “Traditionally, all freight trains are visually inspected before each departure. Due to human errors and operational risks, this is a costly, time-consuming, and often inaccurate procedure. RailWatch is solving these issues with their self-developed Pulsar technology.”

“Of course, we primarily want to help our customers increase their competitiveness,” says Breuer. However, wayside monitoring also has positive effects on the environment and society. “Improved maintenance reduces resource consumption and increases safety in rail freight transport. Reduced downtime and fewer disruptions on the track, in turn, make the entire rail freight sector more competitive, safer and more efficient.”

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

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

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