MERLIN’s main aim and purpose is to investigate and demonstrate the viability of an integrated management system to achieve a more sustainable and optimised energy usage in European electric mainline railway systems.MERLIN will provide an integrated optimisation approach that includes multiple elements, dynamic forecasting supply-demand scenarios and cost considerations to support operational decisions leading to a cost-effective intelligent management of energy and resources through:    Improved design of existing and new railway distribution networks and electrical systems as well as their interfaces with the public grid and considering network interconnections;    Better understanding of the influence on energy demand of operations and operational procedures of the different elements of the railway system;    Identification of technologies and solutions able to further contribute to the optimisation of energy usage;    More efficient traction energy supply based on optimised use of resources;    Understanding of the cross-dependency between these different technological solutions to define optimum combinations for optimised energy usage;    Improving cost effectiveness of the overall railway system;    Contribution to European standardisation (TecRec).MERLIN will also deliver the interface protocol and the architecture for energy management systems in the railway domain, combining the technical development with new business model that would enable and foster their application.