VTG Rail UK has teamed up with Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK) to launch the UK's first digital freight wagon, the VTG iWagon. This development promises to transform rail freight by improving safety, operational efficiency, and availability.
The VTG iWagon offers a range of ground-breaking features, including axle lock detection and Wheel Flat Prevention (WFP) technology. Developed in collaboration with Knorr-Bremse, this technology monitors wheelset slippage and brake condition to improve safety and prevent wheelset damage in real-time.
The nine-wagon trial, which began on 2 October, focuses on the technology developed by VTG and Knorr-Bremse. The trial wagons, including VTG Rail JPA tank wagons, are fitted with new wheelsets with four axle-end generators to supply power to the WFP system. The trial aims to gather valuable data, with the first results expected in January 2024. The first 50 production-ready iWagons are then scheduled for release in the second quarter of 2024.
The iWagon offers additional benefits, including brake condition monitoring and harmonics frequency monitoring, which enhance maintenance efficiency and safety. It aims to eliminate the need for annual brake tests and improve the identification of low-adhesion hot spots on the network.
Nigel Day, VTG Rail UK's Business Improvement Director, highlighted the cost-saving potential of the iWagon through improved wagon reliability and flexibility in maintenance regimes. Tarmac's Head of Rail, Chris Swan, praised the digitalization of the rail fleet sector for its performance and safety benefits.
“The iWagon has been over a decade in development and we are delighted to be at the stage where we can commence country wide trials of the UK’s first digitalized freight wagon which will enable real-time data to ensure safer railways and better wagon utilization,” said VTG Rail UK Managing Director, Colin Denman.