SBB Cargo selects PROSE to support homologation for the introduction of automatic couplers
Innovative technology is being implemented throughout the entire chain in freight transport through SBB Cargo’s “Automation” strategic program. PROSE has been working with SBB Cargo on the homologation process for one of these projects, the “One Person Operation”. The goal behind this project is to enable carriage delivery in combined transport in Switzerland solely with one operator rather than two.
This is an increasingly crucial project - as over the next ten years, most of the current shunting personnel will go into retirement. Finding new staff willing to perform the various tasks in a rail yard is becoming an increasing challenge, given the different alternative career options available nowadays. Also, the profession of the shunting personnel is physically very strenuous and requires day and night work which discourages potential trainees.
The “One Person Operation” project aims to counteract this problem - as one person will be able to perform the entire shunting maneuver using new technologies. Apart from the existing locomotive radio control system, there will be three additional components to support the shunting operator: an automatic coupler, an automated brake test and a collision warning system.
PROSE was commissioned to prepare all that was required for this project’s approval process. The process model used was based on the VöV (Union of Public Transport) guideline Railway Technology Regulations RTE 49100. PROSE prepared the documents needed for the homologation of this change, with the actual and required state. We also prepared the hazard and risk analysis according to the RTE 49100 through a joint workshop. This led to the conclusion of the required steps for the verification, and so to the finalization of the admission concept for the operating license application.
Each vehicle type required its own solution, which means that all the documents were adapted to the respective vehicles. These documents were then submitted to FOT (Federal Office of Transport) for review, with the outcome of this review being integrated accordingly to the approval concept.
Homologation is one of PROSE’s areas of expertise – and that, paired with a structured approach led to authority approval in a relatively short time span. Decisions by the authorities could be taken in a quick processing time, which in turn turned into a lean and efficient verification for our customer.
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