On The Right Track In Düsseldorf

Rheinbahn's new Depot Management System

Rheinbahn in Düsseldorf has made use of recent internal restructuring to renew its signalling and control system that has been in use for many years.

Tracks in Lierenfeld. Photo: Rheinbahn AG

The Düsseldorfer Rheinbahn AG is the fifth largest local transport company in Germany, serving over one million people across an area of 570 km2. In addition to the cities of Düsseldorf and Meerbusch, this area also includes the Mettmann district. The company operates rail routes to Duisburg, Krefeld, Neuss and Ratingen. Bus routes run to Duisburg, Essen, Kaarst, Krefeld, Mülheim, Neuss, Solingen and Wuppertal. In 2010, Rheinbahn carried 214.9 million passengers and employed 2 702 people.

Renovation Requires Computer System Enhancement

Until now, Rheinbahn has always used its 22-year-old signalling and control system but, after extensive renovations and the ever increasing demand on IT systems, this needed to be replaced with a new depot management system (DMS).

Project Team Draws Up Performance Specifications

“We took the opportunity presented to us and issued a public tender for equipping all depots with a modern management system and consolidating and optimizing their processes.” says Thomas Klein, project manager for DMS and employee of the electronic systems department. For the public tender, a project team, made up of members from all departments, was put together to draw up performance specifications, which would detail the planned processes and procedures; paying particular consideration to the needs of the users.

Based on the results of an evaluation matrix, Rheinbahn chose the DMS PSItraffic from Berlin’s PSI Transcom GmbH.

Klein recalls: “Aside from technology and price, it seemed to us that of all the systems on the market PSItraffic offered the most configuration options.” Every depot has its own specific processes and procedures and every process has its own rules and requirements and frequently these can change. If one uses a product that can independently configure these changes in the form of parameters and data, this flexibility alone brings many advantages and saves time and money.

Bus workshop in Lierenfeld. Photo: Rheinbahn AG

Intensive Performance Specifications Phase

The performance specifications phase for the project team and PSI Transcom project manager Frank Fünfstück and his team began after the contract was awarded. The Berlin team’s experience of many other DMS projects was brought into play here.

“We placed great importance on not defining the whole thing on a high consultation level, but rather by entering into discussion with those who use it on a daily basis. A long road, but the acceptance shows that it was worth it” says Klein, justifying the extra effort.

Modern Tracking Systems

The two different transportation systems – rail and bus – require different vehicle tracking systems to ensure accurate recording of vehicle positions and to allow for the correct sequencing of circulation or service visits.

Local Positioning Radar (LPR) is now in use in the Rheinbahn depots and communicates with the DMS via an interface. The system was developed by PSI Transcom together with their partner Symeo GmbH, specialists in precise and contact-free positioning. In Lierenfeld, there are several cells, each with six reference points and a data collector, which report the exact location of the buses to the depot management system (BMS).

Modern IT

The new Depot Management System has a redundant design, with two servers positioned in two different locations. In addition, the Oracle Real Application Cluster is installed in an Oracle database, which allows the implementation of a single database on a server cluster. This installation permits 24/7 availability, the consolidation of the server and avoids costly downtime. This allows PSI Transcom to guarantee 99.8 percent availability.

PSItraffic oversees and controls the entire process from when the vehicle enters the depot to when it leaves. In this way, information from the workshop allows vehicles to be targeted directly upon entrance; spare parts can be acquired early, noticeably reducing downtime and shunting time.

Using PSItraffic in all transport depots allows the scheduler to request replacement vehicles directly from where they are available, without having to search extensively. Consequently, project manager Klein is satisfied: “The good teamwork with our DMS partner and the professional implementation give me the secure feeling that we are on the right track.”


Dr. Thomas Langner
Head of Sales Public Transport