Vol. 76, No. 4, July 2021

Special Reports

Railway System Technologies for Realization of Resilience of Railway Infrastructure and Carbon Neutrality

ISHII Hideaki


The further advancement of railway systems through technological innovations aimed at enhancing safety, environmental friendliness, comfort, and energy saving has become increasingly important from the standpoint of both railway companies and passengers in recent years.

The Toshiba Group has been incorporating its cyber-physical systems (CPS) technologies into the development of railway systems, as well as applying its accumulated knowledge and experience in the development of systems and components in this field, with the objective of offering improved robustness of railway infrastructure and attaining carbon neutrality. We are making intensive efforts to provide solutions integrating these railway system technologies for the benefit of both railway companies and passengers.

SATAKE Nobuhiko

Railway systems are positioned as a key means of transportation for reduction of the burden on the environment and are expected to contribute to the realization of railway infrastructure with enhanced energy saving, safety, and resilience from the viewpoint of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has been developing traction energy storage systems (TESS) equipped with its SCiB™ lithium-ion battery and supplying them for use in railway ground systems. We have confirmed that the TESS supplied to the Yui Rail Line of Okinawa Urban Monorail, Inc. achieves high energy-saving performance, as well as ensuring an emergency power supply to propel rolling stock to the nearest station in the event of a wide-area blackout. Through sampling inspections of our SCiB™ battery modules for the TESS of Tobu Railway Co., Ltd. operating as a battery bank, we have also confirmed that the TESS can achieve stable long-term operations. The application of TESS to railway infrastructure is now beginning in both the Japanese and overseas markets.

KIKKAWA Kenichi / TASAKA Yosuke

Railway companies in Japan have recently been facing the issue of reducing their environmental burden in response to the social requirements for decarbonization, high energy efficiency, and energy saving, as well as enhanced robustness of railway infrastructure in the event of a disaster.

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has responded to this situation by making use of the features of its SCiB™ lithium-ion battery including safety, durability, long life, and fast charging in addition to high power output. Through its application to rolling stock, the SCiB™ is contributing to reduction of the environmental burden in this sector. Moreover, in the event of a loss of external power supply including that due to a large-scale blackout, the SCiB™ can supply power not only to the electrical equipment on rolling stock but can also provide sufficient power to allow rolling stock to be moved to a safe location.

KINOSHITA Hiroyasu / OGAWA Kotaro

Japan and other countries have set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, that is, carbon neutrality by 2050.

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has been engaged in the development of technologies for hybrid locomotives equipped with both a diesel engine generator and lithium-ion batteries as a power source, in order to realize rolling stock with improved energy saving and reduced exhaust gas emissions for the Japanese market. Taking advantage of our accumulated experience in this field, we are responding to the need for further emission reductions worldwide by developing key technologies for energy-saving electrical equipment, including a traction battery system, a power conversion cubicle, and a traction motor, with the aim of introducing series hybrid locomotives to the European market, which is characterized by a high level of environmental consciousness. We have applied a highly efficient, easy-to-maintain permanent magnet synchronous motor (PMSM) as the traction motor. Tests on the traction motor in combination with the power unit have verified that it achieves a high efficiency of 97.4%.

TODA Hayato / ABE Yuichi / NOZAWA Yukiteru

In order to further enhance the value of railway transportation services, railway companies have been engaged in activities aimed at improving the efficiency and sophistication of maintenance work for rolling stock and electrical equipment.

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has been developing and providing railway remote monitoring services employing digitalization based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. These services incorporate a function for the visualization of past and present operational conditions of rolling stock and electrical equipment using data obtained and accumulated by IoT devices. Using this function, we have now developed an analysis method targeted at condition-based maintenance (CBM) of onboard air-conditioning units. We are also developing an ontology-based railway asset monitoring method capable of accurately utilizing data for maintenance and securing asset traceability even in the case of replacement of electrical equipment.


The movement toward the development and introduction of autonomous train operation systems has accelerated in Japan, due to the labor shortage related to train operations accompanying the shift to an aging society with fewer children in recent years. From the viewpoint of ensuring the safety of forward tracks including crossings, the introduction of forward monitoring techniques is becoming essential as a replacement for the current visual surveillance performed by train operators.

The Toshiba Group has been developing a forward obstacle detection sensor, incorporating image processing techniques to detect obstacles using images captured by a stereo camera system, as a key element of advanced train operator assistance systems aimed at realizing autonomous train operations. In order to secure the stability of detection performance in practical environments, we have been conducting a succession of verification tests and improving the performance of the sensor through analysis of image data collected and accumulated using a prototype unit installed on actual trains under various conditions.

SASAKI Tomofumi / KOIZUMI Yoshihiro / SHIRAHAMA Daisaku

Japanese railway companies operating urban railway systems have recently been contending with increasingly complicated daily train operations as a result of the expansion of mutual direct operations among multiple railway lines and further improvements in transportation services. In particular, train rescheduling operations that require immediate and appropriate decision-making place a high burden on train dispatchers, and this is expected to become a critical issue as the decline in the working population leads to a shortage of successors in this field.

With this as a background, the Toshiba Group has developed the following technologies making effective use of large volumes of data acquired by the train traffic control systems of individual railway companies: (1) a technology to support traffic operation rescheduling, which makes it possible to reduce the burden on train dispatchers by proposing the necessity for rescheduling through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) on their behalf, and (2) an analysis function to evaluate train operation performance, which provides railway companies with useful information through the visualization of train delays and extraction of improvements in operations from the trends that are obtained.

IYAMA Hitoshi / KUBO Hideki / OTSUKI Tomoshi

Operators of public transit systems, including railway, light rail transit (LRT), new transit, and bus systems, are making efforts to improve the efficiency of transit scheduling in accordance with demand fluctuations through the introduction of digital systems. However, such transit scheduling faces a variety of constraints and still depends on a limited number of skilled workers.

The Toshiba Group has developed the TrueLine™ cloud-based transit scheduling system that integrates the basic functions of transit scheduling into one package, and has been providing it to operators of public transit systems not only as cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) applications but also as cyber-physical system (CPS) services to support efficient transit scheduling through the use of optimization artificial intelligence (AI). Because these optimization AI technologies are based on universal mathematical models, operators can easily use this system from the first day of implementation if models for each train route have been built in advance. TrueLine™ is contributing to the improvement of transit scheduling and enhanced business efficiency of public transit system operators.

Feature Articles

HANDA Hironori / KOBAYASHI Tetsuya / WATANABE Takahiro

In order to manage air traffic more efficiently, particularly in view of the anticipated increase in the volume of civil aviation traffic in the near future, there is a pressing need to improve the performance of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) for accurate tracking of the positions of aircraft in real time.

Toshiba Infrastructure Systems & Solutions Corporation has developed the GPM-17 GNSS prediction and monitoring equipment, which is capable of predicting the integrity and availability performance of GNSS based on satellite information, and delivered it to the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. The newly developed equipment makes it possible to expand the range of applicability of GNSS prediction by enhancing the time and distance resolution compared with those of conventional systems. This equipment also offers a new service to automatically inform airline operators about the availability of GNSS on routes specified in their aircraft flight plans. As a result of these features, the GPM-17 GNSS prediction and monitoring equipment is contributing to improved efficiency of airline operators and safe aircraft operation by eliminating human error.

SUGITA Shinichi / USUI Ikunobu

Theater and TV studio lighting control systems, which consist of lighting fixtures including halogen and light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires and a console to control various lighting production operations, are generally supplied as engineered-to-order (ETO) products so as to meet the detailed requirement specifications of the customer. In the development of software for such ETO products, it is important to reduce process retrogression caused by requirement changes and additions during and after development caused by omissions in or misunderstandings of the specifications when receiving the order.

In order to improve the efficiency of software development, Toshiba Lighting & Technology Corporation has established a new software development process for ETO products and applied it to actual projects for lighting control systems. As a result, we have confirmed that this software development process achieves an approximately 46% reduction in the ratio of additional requirements from customers compared with conventional software development. 

KANI Bunji / KOIKE Toru

As gas-insulated switchgears (GIS) have long been in widespread use in high-voltage power transmission networks to secure stable supplies of electric power, there is an increasing need for the renewal of aging GIS and the updating of air-insulated switchgears (AIS) to the latest GIS systems. In these circumstances, demand has been growing for reductions in installation cost, improvements in installability, and shorter suspension of operation.

Toshiba Energy Systems & Solutions Corporation has developed a new 550 kV GIS with maximum ratings of 550 kV-8 000 A for the Japanese market. This GIS features significantly enhanced compactness through the application of cutting-edge technologies, including a controlled switching system that eliminates the need for input resistance contacts in the gas circuit breaker (GCB) and a newly developed coating technology that renders metallic foreign materials in the tank harmless. As a result, assembled three-phase single-line units can be individually transported, making it possible to achieve a reduction of about 50% in the time required for installation. 

Frontiers of Research & Development

Collagen Nanofiber Sheets for Precision Medicine Fabricated Using Nanofiber Techniques

Deep Reinforcement Learning Method for Robots Facilitating Container-Size-Agnostic Picking and Placing Tasks

*Company, product, and service names appearing in each paper include those that are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.