Sydney’s first driverless metro train passes important test
Sydney’s new autonomous metro train has passed a historic test on Tuesday, as it crossed a new cable-stayed railway bridge in the Australian city. No passengers were onboard during the test. Sydney is Australia’s first city to implement a fully-automated metro system.
The train passed the new landmark railway bridge over Windsor Road at Rouse Hill and on to the skytrain. The trains, manufactured by Alstom, are initially tested at 60 kilometres per hour before they are tested at speeds up to 100 kilometres per hour.
This test marks the expansion of the metro train testing program beyond Sydney Metro headquarters at Rouse Hill. There have been about 10,000 kilometres of train testing at Rouse Hill. After trials on the current stretch are complete, train testing will progress into new twin 15 kilometres per hour railway tunnels.
44 kilometres of overhead wiring has been installed on the Sydney Metro Northwest project, out of a total of about 78 kilometres. The 22 driverless single-deck trains are expected to carry their first passengers on the North West Metro line. The system will operate Alstom’s computer-based train control system (CBTC), Urbalis 400.
The north-west part of Sydney Metro will open in the first half of 2019. Trains will run every four minutes in each direction in peak hours. Services will extend into the city in 2024 and will have an ultimate capacity of a metro train every two minutes in each direction under the city.
Nine out of 22 trains have been delivered from Alstom. The trains include three double-doors per side in each car for improved access and passenger flows, large windows and ambient LED lighting. The trains will include constant CCTV monitoring, emergency intercoms and the latest way-finding aids for customer information and real-time travel information.
The autonomous trains are part of the Sydney Metro Northwest project, which is Stage 1 of Sydney Metro, Australia’s biggest public transport project. The project is expected to cost around 8,3 billion Australian dollars.
Another milestone for driverless transportation was reached last week. Rio Tinto made its first iron ore delivery by autonomous train on July 10. The self-driving freight train travelled over 280 kilometres from Rio Tinto’s mining operations to port. Rio Tinto expects to start operations by the end of 2018.