RCS-HOT – the coordinator for optimal train sequences

RCS-HOT (Hub Optimisation Technology) is a control programme used to optimise train management at problematic points on the track network.

No train congestion: The RCS module HOT calculates the optimal driving profile for each individual train and uses external installations to signal it to the engine driver. In addition, HOT calculates the optimal sequence of trains and transmits the data automatically to the control and safety systems. Thus, critical points in the rail network can be navigated without unnecessary braking even when traffic volumes are high, and the train path capacity can be better utilised. This increases timetable stability and reduces delays.

Based on the overall constellation (all trains that are located within a particular forecast horizon and travelling towards a conflict point), RCS-HOT calculates optimal train management and from this creates:

  • Speed specifications 
  • Sequence changes (directly influences control systems) 
  • Route changes (directly influences control systems)

The accuracy of HOT in network-wide forecasting and its automated conflict resolution go beyond those of other scheduling systems. As a sub-module of the Rail Control System RCS, HOT can be used at critical points throughout the network.


  • bridges the gap between dispatching and operation
  • recognises and resolves conflicts automatically
  • increases train path capacity
  • improves timetable stability

Figures and facts

  • Reduction of delays: At the Zurich nodal point, HOT helps prevent 1.2 million passenger delay minutes per month.
  • Highly complex computational task: The system knows about 300 different driving options per train. This means that for each optimisation run, approx. 10,000 variations of the different driving options are compared every 6 seconds.


SBB received the UIC Innovation Award in Paris for its in-house development of the RCS-HOT module. The "International Union of Railways" (UIC) honours the world's most innovative rail projects every two years with the UIC Innovation Awards.