Future of railways

Towards a more sustainable and interconnected future

Towards a more sustainable and interconnected future


“Digitalisation, sustainability, and a commitment to enhancing the passenger experience are driving the future of railways – making it more efficient, sustainable, and interconnected. Amid all these advancements, safety remains paramount to ensure the overall well-being of passengers and crew, strengthening the railway industry’s fundamental role in enabling safe and reliable movement of people and goods.” 

René Bambor
Business Unit Manager of Rail Services, TÜV SÜD

future of railways


The railway industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation driven by digitalisation, sustainability, and a commitment to improving the passenger experience. As high-speed rail networks expand, smart technologies proliferate, and sustainability becomes a top priority, the railway industry will play a crucial role in shaping the future of global transportation.  

These trends not only enhance the industry's operational efficiency, but also contribute to a more sustainable and interconnected world. As we look ahead, it is evident that the railway industry will continue to evolve, meeting the challenges of the 21st century while preserving its fundamental role in enabling efficient and reliable movement of people and goods. 





Digitalisation lies at the heart of modern railways. Integrating sensors, communication networks, and data analytics into railway systems drives real-time monitoring and decision-making. From predictive maintenance that anticipates and prevents failures to advanced signalling systems that enhance safety and efficiency, digital technologies are transforming railway operations. 

Moreover, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables the seamless connection of various components within the railway ecosystem, creating smart and interconnected railway systems. While fully autonomous trains are still in the experimental stages, semi-autonomous systems that assist human operators in tasks like braking and acceleration are already being deployed, enhancing operational precision and reducing the workload on train drivers. 

For urban rail, several fully automated metro systems now operate worldwide, and the trend continues to grow and evolve.




In an era characterised by environmental concerns and the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions, the railway industry has emerged as a beacon of sustainability. Electric trains, powered by overhead wires or third rail systems, offer numerous benefits, including lower emissions, reduced noise pollution, and enhanced energy efficiency compared to traditional diesel locomotives. Also, hydrogen fuel cells offer a clean and efficient alternative to traditional diesel-powered trains. By using hydrogen as a fuel source, trains can produce zero-emission exhaust, emitting only water vapour and heat as by-products.

Advancements in materials science are influencing the design and construction of railway infrastructure. High-performance materials, such as composite materials and advanced alloys, are being utilised to create lighter, more durable, and corrosion-resistant tracks and train components. These innovations contribute to longer lifespans, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced operational reliability. Moreover, regenerative braking systems capture and reuse energy, further increasing the overall efficiency of railway operations.


Passenger Experience


Railway stations are evolving into modern, technology-driven hubs that prioritise passenger experience. Smart stations offer features such as self-service ticketing kiosks, real-time journey information, and digital wayfinding systems. 

Advanced security measures, such as facial recognition and biometric scanning, are being implemented to enhance station safety and efficiency. Additionally, smart stations can enhance accessibility for individuals with disabilities by providing tailored services such as digital signage with braille displays, audio announcements, and wheelchair-friendly facilities.



Amid all advancements, safety remains paramount. TÜV SÜD contributes significantly by conducting thorough safety assessments, crash tests, and evaluations that uphold stringent safety standards, ultimately ensuring the well-being of passengers and crew. 

As railways become more digitally connected, cybersecurity becomes paramount. Protecting railway systems from cyber threats is not only a matter of operational integrity but also a safeguard for passenger safety and public trust. TÜV SÜD offers comprehensive services to identify vulnerabilities and establish robust safeguards against potential cyber threats.


TÜV SÜD's unwavering commitment to innovation, excellence, and safety uniquely positions us to provide critical services in the ever-evolving railway industry.  Some of our services are:

Hydrogen technologies as alternative drives in the railway sector.
Train Multiple Unit Carriages connected with railway coupling
Increase competitiveness of rail freight transport with digital automatic coupling (DAC) testing for rolling stock
The signalling and controlling element of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) is called the European Train Control System (ETCS).
An instrumented wheelset is a railway wheelset that is equipped with sensors to measure the dynamic contact forces at the wheel-rail interface.
High speed train on the train station at sunny day Venice, Italy. Beautiful red modern intercity passenger train on the railway platform. Railroad in Europe. Railway station. Passenger transportation
Ensure safe and reliable operation with urban rail testing with TÜV SÜD.
Modern high speed train on a clear day with motion blur
In the rail industry, the evolution from closed, wired isolated networks to open, interconnected networks leads to a new generation of threats.

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