Peter Boom
Principal Consultant, voestalpine SIGNALING
Speaking on 24 November during the Big Data in Railway Operations sessions

Peter Boom
Principal Consultant
voestalpine SIGNALING

Big Data – Enabling the intelligent freight wagon


In the era of big data it’s about time to proactively share available data between all actors in the logistic supply chain of rail freight transportation. National rail infra structure managers have installed significantly in train wayside monitoring systems (WTMS), making snap shots of the quality of railway vehicles on their network. The focus has been on improving safety and protecting their assets.

An example of this are hot axle box detection systems or wheel impact load detectors. In rare cases the data is shared with rail operating companies, so they can plan and optimize the maintenance of their rolling stock. This was limited mostly to passenger operators so far since RFID, used as enabling technology to identify the individual wagon, is not so much implemented in European rail freight transportation. Reason for this is frequent cross border operations and the lack of a European standard for RFID in rail.

This now has changed and since the adoption of Gen 2 UHF standards the financial threshold has been lowered to build a business case. As well there are optical technologies to identify the wagons based on UIC Number recognition. The identification of the individual rail wagon is key to make information available to its owner, the user, port authorities and other stakeholders.

Quality data (provided by installed WTMS systems) can be linked to the wagon and shared in the cloud. By doing so it is possible to enable freight wagons to become intelligent, without even touching them. Certainly an aid to make railway transportation more cost-effective and so helpful to achieve a modal shift.

Freight wagons will become virtually intelligent by

  • Identification of wagons using optical recognition or RFID
  • Ability to use DMT based information, all collected in a cloud
  • Provision to fleetowners through web applications, based on data-subscriptions.

Peter Boom abstract image

View the topics of discussion and the speakers for each individual theme:

We look forward to welcoming you in Naples between 22 – 24 November for the Intelligent Rail Summit. 

Conference Brochure Register