European high-speed trains photograph

MODTRAIN — A modular vehicle concept, which will pave the way to European integration


MODTRAIN stands for Innovative Modular Vehicle Concepts for an Integrated European Railway System, and as Integrated Project it is the first of its kind in the area of joint European railway research. The project officially started on 1 February 2004 with a total project duration of four years. MODTRAIN will define and prove the necessary functional, electrical and mechanical interfaces and validation procedures to deliver the range of interchangeable modules, which will form the basis for the next generation on intercity trains and universal locomotives.


Train photograph
Train photograph

The concept of modularity aims at economic advantages for both railway suppliers and operators, such as reduced manufacturing cost and economies of scale, increased productivity of new rolling stock as well as increased reliability founded on a rise in proportion of service-proven components in new rolling stock designs. The project's economic advantages together with the technical solutions fulfil the objectives of increased railway competitiveness and interoperability defined in the agenda for the European Rail Research Advisory Council (ERRAC) and in the First and Second Railway Packages enacted by European Union legislation.

As a starting point, MODTRAIN will concentrate on fixed-formation passenger trains and universal locomotives capable of 200 km/h or more. As the programme advances, it hopes to extend the scope to embrace all rolling stock likely to operate over both the high-speed and conventional interoperable networks across Europe.

Budget & Partners

As an Integrated Project, MODTRAIN has a total budget of about €30,4 million, of which €16,9 million are financed by the European Union's 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The second share of about €13,5 million is financed by the 37 project partners.

EUDD embedded in a realistic simulation environment (© Siemens Transportation)

Together with the European Commission, the contracting partners of MODTRAIN include the system integrators Alstom, Ansaldobreda, Bombardier and Siemens, the railway operators DB, SNCF and Trenitalia, various railway subsystem suppliers of different branches and sizes as well as railway research centres and universities. Many other suppliers and operators are represented via the Association of European Railway Industries (UNIFE), the International Union of Railways (UIC) as well as the national rail industry associations ANIE (Italy), FIF (France), RIA (UK) and VDB (Germany).

Technical & Scientific Work

Train photograph
Train photograph

The starting point for the project will be the continuous collaboration between the suppliers and operators to determine the necessary functional and physical interfaces, requirements and validation procedures. These will then form a reference for the design and development of the range of interchangeable locomotive and rolling stock modules. The operators will assess, amend and approve the specifications as they emerge. Finally, at the end of the project, open standards for the interfaces of significant train components should be put in place.

The technical and scientific work of the project will address four principle elements, which are structured as their own Subprojects:

The dissemination policy and information to all railway stakeholders is organised within the 5th Subproject MODUSER, the MODTRAIN User Platform.

Further Developments

MODTRAIN has paved the way to corollary projects such as MODBRAKE, which aims at contributing to the practical implementation of interoperability of railway systems across Europe by addressing brake system performance.


Further Information

For further information on the MODTRAIN development and current activities, please visit the regularly updated links on this website or contact Antoine Loraillère at UNIFE: antoine.loraillere@unife.org

EU Flag 6th Framework Programme

Part of the European Union's 6th Framework Programme
for Research and Technological Development

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