02 November 2020

SYSTRA is one of the companies selected by SNCF Réseau for the development and deployment of the new generation of computerised switching stations, as part of the ARGOS innovation partnership with the Thales, Alstom and Hitachi Rail groups (SYSTRA and Eiffage Energie Systèmes).

As part of the ARGOS project, SNCF Réseau organised a multi-award-winning partnership for the first time in 2018. After an 18-month research phase involving more than 150 experts, the launch of the development phase was a real success for all the teams.

Hitachi Rail, as leader of the consortium, is in charge of the development, configuration and supply of the system, Eiffage Energie Systèmes is carrying out the signalling work and SYSTRA is in charge of the sizing studies, checking the interlocking designs, technical checks and acceptance tests.

Didier Traube, Directeur Général Adjoint SYSTRA S.A.

This project illustrates SYSTRA’s capacity to position itself on promising future projects with prestigious partners. We are delighted to be supporting SNCF Réseau in modernising its installations.

Didier Traube, Senior Vice President France

The ARGOS innovation partnership challenge

Essential components in ensuring the safety of moving trains, computer-controlled signal interlockings enable the switches and signals in a given zone to be controlled. Many of these interlocking boxes are already old or their technology obsolete, necessitating replacement.


ARGOS targets high levels of technical and economic performance. The innovations in terms of architecture system and design process enables:

  • The availability of a box to be improved (for example, geographic separation of the same equipment) thus limiting the risks of train disruption
  • A reduction in installation and maintenance costs
  • By implementing digitalisation in signalling design
  • By bringing electronic equipment as close to the tracks as possible to limit the need for rolling out copper cables replaced by fibre
  • By dispensing with the need to use intermediate relays, their functions being integrated in the electronic systems

Finally, the expected benefits are:

  • A 15% reduction in costs for the implementation and maintenance
  • A 30% reduction in implementation deadlines: while the length of a modernisation project can be up to 3 years for an average-sized box. ARGOS needs just 2 years.

An increase in the global peformance of new installations, notably in the areas of cybersecurity, maintenance and operation.

The first in a series of projects

In parallel with the development phase of the new system, each partner is entrusted with a ‘seed project’. Thus, the Hitachi Rail STS, Eiffage Energie Systèmes and SYSTRA consortium is in charge of deploying the Arzwiller box and the BAL zone (luminous automatic block) between Réding and Saverne in the Grand Est region. Commissioning of these first ARGOS deployments will take place at the start of 2024.

This commitment is long-term: following the 30 months of development, the partnership will be involved with SNCF Réseau and the manufacturers for 15 years, enabling a chain of excellence to be built over time.

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