Rail Control System (RCS) – the smart choice for Traffic Management.


Capacity optimisation for Traffic Management

Swiss Federal Railways SBB has created a new generation of system components for innovative rail control called Rail Control System (RCS). This system has proven itself over many years – not just in Switzerland; it is also in operation internationally.

Rail Control System (RCS) improves punctuality on all routes. What’s more, RCS optimises the use of the existing infrastructure and boosts both the capacity of the rail network and the frequency of services – all without the need for high levels of investment to expand the track network. RCS automates traffic management to a significant degree and generates real-time schedules, calculates future train movements and manages passenger connections in stations. The data output serves as a basis for the provision of optimised customer information, improved incident response, monitoring, cost accounting (for example by improved energy efficiency) and quality control.

Improved efficiency, reduced costs, sustained quality.

+25 % Ridership

+10 % Train path miles

+9% Track usage

-22 % FTE in traffic management

-25 % traffic management cost reduction per train path kilometre

Sustained train punctuality at 91 %

Comparison of key figures for 2009 (before RCS) and 2016 (after introduction of RCS) on the SBB network.

Rail Control System Webinar. Register here to watch on-demand now.

The Webinar showcases the innovative Rail Control System (RCS) and the benefits it can offer to other infrastructure managers

Rail Control System: A modular traffic management system.

The RCS system family is modular and scalable. The entire system consists of a versatile group of applications that can be combined and used as required. The open system architecture of RCS means that the system can be extended with specific modules.

RCS-Dispo – the heart of network operations.

The basic module RCS-Dispo is critical for controlling the network. It calculates the actual state and visualises the target state throughout the network. All of the units and staff involved in the process are provided with a standardised process map and a timetable display in real time. Operationally relevant information from various systems is merged in one standardised user interface. RCS-Dispo is therefore the most important tool used by rail traffic dispatchers and controllers in the train-control centres. The ability to interconnect with existing related systems allows automated route control, following the resolution of conflicts by dispatching actions.

RCS-ADL – the energy-efficient speed advisor.

As part of RCS-Dispo, RCS-ADL (adaptive control) calculates an energy-optimised driving profile in real time for the entire route. Based on these calculations, RCS-ADL supplies the locomotive crew with speed recommendations, thus enabling trains to run smoothly and conserve energy, with less wear on materials. Unscheduled stops ahead of signals are avoided, saving electricity and resulting in better punctuality.

RCS-HOT – The automatic train route optimiser.

RCS-HOT (Hub Optimisation Technology) is a control program that optimises train management at problematic points on the track network. It calculates the perfect driving profile for each individual train and signals this information to the locomotive crew via trackside installations or to a tablet in the vehicle. RCS-HOT also calculates the ideal sequence of trains and transmits the data to the control and safety systems automatically, thereby allowing the train path capacity to be used more effectively.

RCS-ARS – Automatically optimising train routes.

RCS-ARS bridges the gap between dispatching and operations. It identifies dispatching discrepancies between the RCS production timetable and the control system, automatically recalculates the route setting data for the affected section of a train journey and transmits this data to the control system. This enables a partially automated central process and more efficient railway production during periods of increased capacity utilisation on the network.

RCS-ALEA – the reliable assistant when incidents occur.

RCS-ALEA (alarm and incident assistant) is a communications tool used in the event of technical problems or unforeseen incidents in rail operations. The automated disruption management assistant is the perfect partner for RCS-Dispo and significantly improves communications when incidents occur. RCS-ALEA channels case-specific information and distributes huge volumes of data extremely rapidly. RCS-ALEA communicates decisions quickly, individually and in a targeted manner. If the emergency services need to be alerted, RCS-ALEA reliably supports co-operation in this task and shortens the alarm chain.

Read our white paper: The future of traffic management – State of the art, current trends and perspectives for the future

Our railway technology of the future enables the railway system to be used in a more efficient way.


The proven RCS solution is not only the standard for Switzerland, but has also been used very successfully in Belgium for several years and will soon be controlling rail traffic in Germany too. Thanks to its open system architecture, RCS can be adapted to any railway network in the world.

DB Netz AG introduces RCS.

The two systems currently used for the operations of German infrastructure manager DB Netz will reach the end of their life cycles in December 2019. To keep pace with digitalisation and take advantage of future opportunities, DB Netz will rely on the Rail Control System offered by Swiss Federal Railways SBB in future.

The company is currently working with SBB to continue to develop RCS as a dispatch control system (LeiDis-D). The most innovative feature for Germany is the implementation of an automated conflict identification and resolution system. This important function paves the way for modern and efficient capacity management.

Successful pilot operations have already been carried out in Munich and Duisburg since 2016. Following extensive parallel operation with the existing system, the nationwide roll-out of the first stage of development is set to take place in early 2020.

Infrabel now using RCS.

Belgian infrastructure operator Infrabel now controls its rail traffic with the Rail Control System (RCS), making it the first non-Swiss infrastructure operator to opt for this system.

The project was introduced at the end of 2013, when a project team made up of CSC (now DXC Technology) and Infrabel specialists began working towards launching the RCS in late 2016. SBB has been sharing its experiences of the system and rail operations with Infrabel as and when required.

Infrabel successfully completed implementation in mid-November 2016, meaning that the company now uses the RCS to manage the 5,000 trains a day which operate across Belgium’s rail network. The RCS allows busy hubs such as Brussels to be navigated more efficiently.

Praise for RCS.

There is a great deal to be said about the Rail Control System.


SBB at InnoTrans 2018: Solutions for rail 4.0

Global Railway Review

How new opportunities in information and communication technologies are changing business models

interview with Peter Kummer, SBB

Why 93 % of all SBB trains are on time

LITRA, German/French

SBB’s integrated and collaborative approach for improving energy efficiency

Global Railway Review

Infrabel launching Rail Control System

Youtube, Dutch, French

Equipped for the future with an Integrated Control System

Interview with Dr Christian Gruss, DB Netz AG, Global Railway Review

SBB on track towards energy efficiency

Global Railway Review

From energy management to power management,

Global Railway Review

The Swiss way to capacity optimisation for traffic management – Q&A with SBB

Global Railway Review

Infrabel installs Train Management System

Railway Gazette

Intelligent technology for greater energy efficiency

House of Switzerland/Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

2016 Watt d'Or in the "Energy-efficient mobility" category awarded to SBB for its innovative ADL system

Swiss Federal Office of Energy

DB Netz buys SBB’s Rail Control System

Railway Gazette