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Technology | Transport & Logistics

How Siemens Mobility is improving the emissions, safety and security profile of rail

6 Nov 2023, by Amy Sarcevic

Climate change, cybercrime, and safety in the rail industry are not easy problems to solve, but thanks to the efforts of Siemens Mobility, they are becoming much easier.

In recognition of the enormous role rail plays in our clean energy future, the technology vendor has designed a range of solutions to make transport options cleaner and safer.

“In New Zealand, transport accounts for 17 percent of overall carbon emissions, so we wanted to find a way to improve the emissions profile of rail. At the same time, improving its safety and security, so that more people are encouraged to use rail over single occupancy vehicles,” said Siemens NZ Branch Manager, Fred Grace.

So, what has the company got in store to address these issues? Ahead of the New Zealand Rail Conference, Mr Grace shared some insights on behalf of Siemens Mobility.

A system-wide approach to sustainability

After setting a target to become carbon neutral by 2030, Siemens’ leadership did not sweat the challenge. By 2020, it had already reduced its carbon output by 50 percent, compared to its 2014 baseline.

However, the company refused to get complacent and has an ongoing drive to uphold sustainability standards in all facets of its work.

This has meant using energy-efficient designs to create low emission technologies that are built to withstand a long shelf life.

“For us, sustainability begins in the design phase and continues right through to the end of the asset’s life. It is no use creating a low emissions technology that is built with unsustainable manufacturing methods. Or one that will expire before its higher emissions equivalent,” Mr Grace said.

Facilitating the road to rail transition

Deeper than that, Siemens’ technologies also needed to address the very reasons why motorists might not be willing to use public transport options, like rail.

“We looked at this from a personal point of view,” Mr Grace said. “If we felt uncomfortable on a train, our service was delayed, or we had difficulty getting from the last station to our final destination, then we might prefer to drive instead.

“This has been our impetus for designing shared mobility systems, along with integrated planning, ticketing and payment applications. These get to the heart of what’s needed to bring the user experience of a rail customer on par with someone taking their own vehicle.”

Improving network efficiency

In a similar vein, Siemens has deployed ETCS level 2, automatic train operation (ATO) and predictive maintenance tools like, Railigent X to achieve 100 percent system availability.

“These technologies will significantly reduce energy consumption and operational downtime. In turn, this translates to more passengers, greater service frequency, and less CAPEX and OPEX expenditure,” Mr Grace said.

“Ultimately, they will help increase the network efficiency and support a modal shift to rail – both of which are vitally important in a sector that accounts for 30 percent of global energy demand.”

Passenger and personnel safety

In further support of a modality shift to rail, Siemens recognised the importance of upholding rigorous safety and security standards – particularly in light of the new risks some modern rail technologies can bring, like cyber-attacks.

From a passenger safety point of view, Siemens has introduced technologies such as its state of the art CBI, Westrace MKII and ETCS level 1 signalling systems. This has significantly reduced SPADs and over-speeds, whilst augmenting driver awareness and capability.

“You can’t underestimate the word ‘significantly’ here,” Mr Grace said. “These systems have dramatically improved safety for passengers and drivers where this technology is installed.

“We are particularly proud to be part of major New Zealand infrastructure projects, like the City Rail Link, Papakura to Pukekohe and Wiri to Quay Park, where an increase in capacity, efficiency and safety can be achieved or enabled through technology.”

Further insight

Siemens is a proud sponsor of the upcoming NZ Rail Conference, where Fred Grace and presenter Raphaelle Guerineau, CEO for Siemens Australia and New Zealand, will be available to give further commentary on the company’s ongoing journey into sustainable transport.

Joining Raphaelle Guerineau on stage are Peter Reidy, CEO of KiwiRail; Dr Sean Sweeney, CEO of City Rail Link; and Nicole Rosie, CEO of Waka Kotahi.

This year’s event will be held 29-30 November at the Hilton Auckland.

Learn more and register your place here.

About Fred Grace

Fred Grace is currently responsible for sales, customer relationships and the efficient functioning of Siemens Mobility’s NZ branch. He has broad industry experience in power distribution, industrial automation, building technology and has worked with the mobility portfolio in NZ for fourteen years.

About Raphaelle Guerineau

Raphaelle Guerineau is a renowned leader in the rail industry, currently serving as the CEO of Siemens Mobility in Australia and New Zealand. With over seventeen years of international experience in the rail industry, she has held several key positions in Siemens Mobility and Alstom.

About Siemens

As a leader in intelligent transport solutions for more than 175 years, Siemens Mobility is constantly innovating its portfolio. Its core areas include rolling stock, rail automation and electrification, a comprehensive software portfolio, turnkey systems as well as related services.

With digital products and solutions, Siemens Mobility is enabling mobility operators worldwide to make infrastructure intelligent, increase value sustainably over the entire lifecycle, enhance passenger experience and guarantee availability.

Siemens has been in Australia & New Zealand for more than 150 years. It employs over 600 people from 41 different nationalities, with offices in all major capital cities and manufacturing sites in Melbourne and Perth.

Siemens aims to be the first major industrial company to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030 and a partner in Australia’s first carbon neutral rail infrastructure project.

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