FRED app sparks enthusiasm among train drivers
The train drivers of DB Fernverkehr were the first to use the FRED app, and now all of DB Cargo's train drivers in Germany can use the app on their company-issued tablets. A previous pilot phase had produced solid results.
FRED, an Android app, has been in use at DB Fernverkehr since 2017 and has met with success. It is a mobile means of providing train drivers with information about the current operational situation. Using the app helps avoid telephone calls, waiting periods and the associated delays. In January 2019, DB Cargo also gave its train drivers access to the app, initially in an expanded pilot phase as part of the "OPEX@DB Cargo" quality initiative, the company's lean management programme. The app is expected to pass over into regular operations in May 2019.
The acronym FRED comes from a German word meaning vehicle resource usage planning and dispatch. The app helps employees manage personnel changes on locomotives. Train driver Andreas Meissner took part in the pilot project in the German city of Seddin, located south of Potsdam, and is excited about the app. "Thanks to FRED, I can see exactly where my train is on its route and, when it arrives at the station, I can make sure the driver switch happens swiftly and smoothly so the train can leave the station on time", says Meissner. He uses the app at the beginning of his shift and at different points through it when he changes trains. He likes how easy it is to use the app and how reliable the data is.
Before train drivers had the app, they were reliant on monitors at their deployment site to tell them where their next train would be. In the past, there was no means to view this type of information on the rails; it was available only over the phone. Additionally, employees can use the app to see exactly what kind of locomotive is hauling their train.
DB Cargo and DB Fernverkehr intend to continue development on the FRED app to make rail operations even more efficient and reliable.