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Rails expands mobility portfolio

Ethernet cabling optimises mobile work
Matthias Fritsche
Matthias Fritsche
Product Manager, HARTING Electronics

The reasons for the worldwide growth in rail traffic are usually that it provides comfortable and fast travel. But another advantage is becoming increasingly prevalent, namely the ability to use travel time in a meaningful way. Travellers expect high-performance infotainment systems as well as fast and reliable internet access. Consequently, railway operators must enhance their trains and adapt to user preferences.

Ethernet cabling optimises mobile work

Digitisation permits completely new forms of mobility to be offered. As people today are increasingly stuck in traffic jams - but still need to become more and more mobile - a rethinking has taken place in Germany as well as globally. Some 6.5 million people come on board the more than 24,000 trains a day which Deutsche Bahn alone operates on the rails. Now, Deutsche Bahn, and every other rail operator as well, are beginning to react. More and more articles can be found on train redesigns or Wi-Fi offerings on ICEs and regional trains. Reliable and future-proof data networks are necessary for this. With its preLink® system and its EtherRail® cables designed especially for requirements in the rail sector, HARTING is offering high process reliability via the unique reliability and simplicity of the preLink assembly process.


This ensures maximum investment security for the railway operator. The combination of the modular preLink® system and the EtherRail® cable is the ideal combination for cabling rolling stock. With the help of quick and easy-to-install connectors and cables, trains can be equipped with future-proof Gigabit Ethernet, thus creating the mobile workplace of the future.

Cost reduction through the use of pre-assembled cables

The central component of the preLink® system is the termination block with which the cable connection is made quickly, easily and reliably. The small size of the preLink® contact block makes it possible to prefabricate the data cables outside the car ready-for-use and then install them in cars. Routing can be done using a minimum hole diameter of only 12 mm. Once the cables have been laid, the appropriate connector is attached, depending on the network device to be connected. Both RJ45 and M12 D- or X-coded connectors (socket or pin) are available here. This unique diversity of mating faces, which all offer the same preLink® connection technology, offers unique flexibility and investment security, in particular for the long periods of use common in railway technology. At the same time, the system simplifies assembly, making it faster and more reliable.

Neuigkeiten zur InnoTrans 2018

Zur InnoTrans 2018 kommt das preLink System mit zwei Neuerungen. Die erste Neuerung sind die M12 Buchsen, welche sich nun auch über preLink anschließen lassen. Die neukonstruierten Buchsen können sowohl als lose Kabelkupplung verwendet werden, können aber gleichzeitig auch als Gehäusedurchführung verwendet und hier sicher verschraubt werden.

Die zweite Neuerung ist eine preLink Leiterplattenbuchse, die es dem Anwender ermöglicht, vorkonfektionierte preLink Kabel ohne Umwege direkt auf der Leiterplatte anzuschließen. Besteht also keine Notwendigkeit einer permanent lösbaren Verbindung an einem Gehäuse via Steckverbinder, können Ethernetverbindungen schnell und günstig direkt auf die Leiterplatte gebracht werden.

News on InnoTrans 2018

For InnoTrans 2018, the preLink® system will be on show with two new features. The first innovation is the M12 sockets, which can now also be connected via preLink®. The newly designed sockets can be used both as a loose cable coupling as well as a housing feedthrough and screwed securely here.

The second innovation is a preLink® printed circuit board socket which enables users to connect prefabricated preLink® cables directly to the printed circuit board without detours. Consequently, if there is no need for a permanently detachable connection to a housing via connectors, Ethernet connections can be quickly and conveniently brought directly to the circuit board.

DIN EN 61375

This standard describes electronic equipment for trains. Train Communication Network (TCN) - Part 3-4: Ethernet Consist Network (ECN) (IEC 61375-3-4: 2014). The International IEC 61375 standards series deals with data communication networks between and within train vehicles. The Ethernet Consist Network (ECM), which is based on Ethernet technology, is specified therein. The application of this section of DIN EN 61375 to train formation networks promotes the interoperability of different vehicles, thus facilitating the operation of open trains in international rail traffic. The standard is also applicable to closed trains and railcar trains, should the contracting authority and supplier agree to do so.

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