Assessment of the benefits of railway eco-driving

Substantial energy can be saved in railway systems by using an optimal train driving strategy.

Image showing a modern train pulling into a station at sunrise

Coordinator: Domenico Giordano


Substantial energy can be saved in railway systems by using an optimal train driving strategy. This includes consideration of the journey, the timetable, the rolling stock and railway line characteristics, and the trip time margin which is a speed profile which minimises the energy consumption that can be found by means of optimisation algorithms.

The amount of saved energy, provided by reduction in the absorbed energy, strongly depends on the timetable, the traffic management, the rolling stock features, etc. Experiments performed along the line Rimini-Bologna. the ecodriving activity was performed on the DC railway line between Rimini and Bologna in Italy, with a test train

used for regional connections with a weight of 361 Mg not equipped with ATO. The journey foresees 8 interstation; the line profile is characterised by a low plan-altimetry gradient. The eco-driving strategy, implemented manually was characterised by the following approach: to reach the maximum allowed speed then to nullify the traction effort, letting the train move by inertia, when the train lost too much speed, the traction effort was again increased in order to reach again the maximum speed. This approach provided energy savings of 38 %, corresponding to about 954 kWh with a travel time increase of 5 seconds. Merging the activity on the braking rheostat and on eco-driving, we can state that with a hypothetical efficient infrastructure able to implement the eco-driving and the complete recovery of braking energy, energy savings of about 50 % can be reached on this journey

The project activities have provided means and methods to perform measurements of energy flow on-board trains with an accuracy lower than 1 %, thus meeting the project objective. The new methods have been applied to real test cases allowing a comparison between the eco-driving energy savings predicted by models and those estimated in-field. A detailed sensitivity analysis on the quantities affecting the estimated energy saving provided by the eco-driving has been carried out.

For more information, see the project webpage >>


Parent project
Short Name:MyRailS,Project Number:16ENG04

Participating Euramet NMIs and DIs

CMI (Czechia)

INRIM (Italy)

LCOE (Spain)

LNE (France)

METAS (Switzerland)

NPL (United Kingdom)

VSL (Netherlands)

Other participants

ASTM, Analysis, Simulation, Test and Measurement SAGL (Switzerland)
Hitachi Rail Italy S.p.A (Italy)
Metro de Madrid, S.A. (Spain)
Railenium (France)
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (Italy)
Trenitalia S.p.A (Italy)
Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Spain)
Università degli studi della Campania Luigi Vanvitelli (Italy)
University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)

Project type
Joint Research Project