More than eight billion euros for a rail network in Egypt, three billion euros for locomotives in India, 900 million euros for the metro in Australia. Even in the financially modest Bulgaria, nearly 50 new Siemens locomotives, owned by the Bulgarian Railways and private carriers, are expected to be running by the end of 2024.
In Egypt, the company will build a complete high-speed train network with a total length of 2,000 km and 60 new stations. All electronics and mechanics are coming from Siemens, including 41 high-speed trains, 94 double-decker regional trains and 41 Vectron locomotives. The contract also includes 15 years of maintenance for the entire system.
The rolling stock will move by rail to a port, then continue to Africa by ship. The climate is naturally challenging and necessitates, for example, the incorporation of special sand filters, which in Egypt has specific qualities. High temperatures are not a problem for German manufacturers, as their locomotives and wagons are already running successfully in other hot countries such as Spain or Turkey.
It is estimated that by building Egypt’s new rail network, the country’s economy will earn an annual benefit of two billion dollars. Nearly 90 percent of the population will have access to the new railway system.
At the same time, Siemens was able to secure its largest contract in the company’s history: the supply of 1,200 modern locomotives and 35 years of maintenance. The machines will have an output of 9,000 hp and will be able to replace up to 800,000 trucks during their service life. The German company already manufactures electric drives and bogies in India.
In Sydney, Siemens has succeeded in winning a tender to build an autonomous moving metro. Rolling stock underground also has its specific challenges, one of which is determined by the kind of tunnels in which it will move. The shape of the metro trains has to be tailored to the punctures, and they are made in many different ways. This is the reason why subways around the world are so different. In other words, there is no one-size-fits-all metro for all potential customers.
The great advantage of underground trains is their movement in a closed system, in which it is highly unlikely that a cyclist would cross the tracks by surprise. This is a serious advantage when implementing autonomous travel systems. But Siemens is also testing autonomous vehicles above ground. For example, a tram in the German city of Potsdam, near the capital Berlin, operates autonomously on its usual line and maneuvers in the depot. In Hamburg, on the other hand, the world’s first highly automated urban railway (S-Bahn) has been running since autumn 2022 with technology from Siemens.
The idea of the effort in autonomous driving is not to replace drivers, but to improve the efficiency of the entire railway system. In high-tech systems, more trains can run on the same track. Thanks to optimized scheduling, capacity can be increased by up to 30 percent. At the same time, such solutions save up to 30 percent energy and are far more punctual, rarely allowing delays.
Against this backdrop, interest in public transit and rail has seen tremendous growth in the classic car-holding United States. The market is increasing and generating more demand. Not least as a result of President Joe Biden’s statement to support railways and infrastructure with one hundred billion dollars. This is probably one of the reasons why Siemens is building another plant overseas, this time in the state of North Carolina, with an investment of USD 220 million.
But interest in railways is not only growing in the States. The Indian government has increased its annual budget for railways by 74 percent to a total of 28 billion euros. Similar trends are being seen around the world because modern mobility and ecology are an irrevocable priority. And modern railways are the ideal response to both challenges.