Technology & Innovation

Innovative technologies for an efficient connection

Modern technology makes the Dresden – Prague line faster, safer, and more efficient.
Illustrating Building Information Modelling (BIM) for the new Dresden-Prague line, this image showcases the integration of a tunnel with an AGRO-terminal.
Example for Building Information Modelling, depicting the integration of a tunnel, DB AG

Efficient planning with BIM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a working method that uses specialised software to network the various parameters and measurement data collected during the planning phase of a construction project and map them as a three-dimensional model. This model incorporates not only geometric data, but also parameters such as flood values, data from subsoil investigations and equally important factors such as environmental protection and monument conservation. From the very beginning, an important part of this process was the requirement to go through all planning variants with the same care in order to have an optimal basis for further decisions. BIM optimises the entire construction process, from the first planning steps, through all construction phases, to the completion and future maintenance of the project.

The new Dresden – Prague line started in 2019 as a BIM project and thus it will always be prepared to remain a digital, futureproof railroad.

Inside a tunnel with tracks, emergency lights, doors and the far tunnel exit.
DB AG / Daniel Saarbourg
Construction site in a spacious tunnel with bright, artificial light.
DB AG / Frank Kniestedt
A construction site in a tunnel at night: The bright lights illuminate large pieces of construction equipment and create harsh contrasts with their shadows. A worker wearing a high-visibility waistcoat can be seen next to a railway track.
DB AG / Daniel Saarbourg

Heart of the project:
The Erzgebirgstunnel

There is little doubt that the Erzgebirgstunnel between Heidenau and Chabařovice is the centrepiece of the new Dresden-Prague line project. With a length of at least 30 km, of which about 18 km are on the German side and 12 km on the Czech side, the construction will not only be the longest tunnel in Germany upon completion, but the project also poses a significant challenge to the art of engineering.

Innovative construction for a future on rails with ETCS

The EU has made the Europe-wide use of ETCS (European Train Control System) mandatory by means of directives, and this obligation has been transposed into national law by the member states. The migration to ETCS is underway throughout Europe. The aim is to replace the variety of train control systems used in Europe and to introduce a uniform, interoperable European standard. This harmonisation of systems and processes increases reliability in cross-border rail operations and enables continuous cross-border traffic without technical barriers.

ETCS makes it possible to drive without main and advance signals and at the same time increases safety. The system can be compared to an autopilot, which has been common in commercial aviation for decades. According to the current state of the art, the ETCS - Level 2 system will probably be installed on the line.

Overhead line equipment

Electric railway operation requires a supply of electricity. The power comes from the overhead lines that can be seen along railway lines and enable the trains to drive. The overhead lines are supplied with electricity via substations, which convert the electricity for train propulsion. Among other things, an overhead line consists of masts, contact wires, insulators and earthing. The power supply is permanently controlled by special switching devices. There are various options for installing the overhead line within a tunnel. As part of the planning process, we determine the most suitable overhead line system for the Erzgebirgstunnel.

Overhead line equipment, DB AG