HANDELSBLATT EXCLUSIVE

General Electric to Help Deutsche Bahn Go Digital

General Electric has reached a deal with Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s state-owned railway operator, to run the digital management systems for 250 locomotives, according to Handelsblatt sources at both companies.

The contract runs for five years and covers Britain, France, Germany and Poland. The companies declined to discuss the size of the deal, but sources told Handelsblatt that it’s in the two-figure million range with both fixed and performance-based components.

The deal represents a major coup for General Electric over its German arch-rival Siemens. Deutsche Bahn is traditionally a major customer of Siemens.

“General Electric is a good partner with extensive experience in data analysis,” Steffen Bobsien, the head of vehicles and technology at Deutsche Bahn’s freight unit, DB Cargo, told Handelsblatt.

Deutsche Bahn plans to invest €500 million ($530 million) through 2019 in switching its rails to digital systems, with 30 projects already underway. Mr. Bobsien wouldn’t rule out extending General Electric’s contract to additional locomotives in the future.

General Electric’s software will evaluate data from the locomotive’s sensors – such as the cooling systems and brake thermometers – to predict future system failures.

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