Swiss Railways and Erex – On Track to Greater Precision

Swiss Railways (SBB), renown for precision in all their undertakings, are currently utilising the Erex IT system

Their primary objective is to have precise data that will create greater precision when invoicing metered energy consumption of all trains running in Switzerland and in turn greater energy efficiency. 

As expected, when working with the Swiss, best practice and high standards of precision are second nature to them - and Erex did not disappoint. The discussions between SBB and Eress started in 2013 with the decision being made by SBB to join Eress in 2014 and start the implementation process of their Erex IT system.  

Gisela Hinrichs, Programme Manager, at SBB in Switzerland, responsible for energy settlement based on metered data on trains explaines, “The objective is to have metered data on all trains across Switzerland. The process started in 2013; the Erex settlement system went into operation in October 2015. Most trains operating in Switzerland are expected to have energy meters installed by end of 2018. Since it is not yet compulsory, we are starting to develop a programme that includes incentives and disincentives to encourage as many Train Operators (TOs) as possible, to get on board with metering”.

The Swiss train metering efforts are very comprehensive in their objectives. In addition to being able to calculate the energy the trains consume when they are actively working, i.e when carrying passengers or freight, they are also 
working on solutions to address the energy consumed in ‘Stabling and Shunting movements’. As explained by Ms Hinrichs, this process is when trains are operated or moved inside a railway station or other railway installations, for example depots, workshops or marshalling yards. There is a cost to all of this type of movement as well and the metering and settlement are currently based on estimates. “Fortunately, Erex is able to provide the right data to solve this problem, too”. 

Ms Hinrichs explains: “One of the primary reasons SBB decided to go with Erex was that they already had substantial experience in energy metering. Additionally, we thought it was a good idea to work towards a single European standard, since Erex provides international data exchange and it makes sense to have one single system. Eress has proven to be an excellent partner to work with. They have worked with us to customise the Erex IT System to fit our specifications, and at this point the Erex system has now become an integral part of our internal billing system at Swiss Rail. They have been able to comply with our exacting Swiss standards. As a result, each new Eress partner now has the opportunity to benefit from the improvements made by other partners and to help further improve the system”. The result will be a single seamless energy billing and settlement system at the highest European standards. 

Currently, there are more than 10,000 train runs processed every night through Erex and that data is then returned to SBB every morning. At the moment, metered data of about 100 trains is used for energy settlement. There are approximately another 100 SBB trains with meters that are being tested to ensure the meters are effective. Another 600 trains are expected to be ready by the end of 2017 and 1200 trains by the end of 2019. Eventually, the entire traffic on the Swiss network will be metered and the data will be processed by Erex. 

“Once the TSI’s (Technical Specification for Interoperability) are fully implemented across Europe, at SBB, we believe the Erex IT system will be the most experienced and best positioned system to become the European standard when it comes to Railway Energy Settlement. Additionally, SBB will be proud to have been a key Eress partner in both the utilisation and further development of the system”, concludes Gisela Hinrichs.


Created Monday, March 6, 2017


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