Stadler GTW diesel train of Arriva Netherlands, source: Stadler Rail

First ATO trip with passengers in Netherlands

Arriva Netherlands is moving further in examining the Automatic Train Operation (ATO) technology. The company’s diesel-electric GTW train has performed the unmanned trip in the Groningen area with the passengers on board. It is the first passenger travel on the self-driving train in the Netherlands.

Arriva’s train transported 50 local and national VIPs. They were invited by four project participants: Arriva Netherlands, Stadler Rail, ProRail and the Province of Groningen. It was a short journey provided by the unmanned train. The latter accelerated and braked automatically in line with the ATO technology of the Grade of Automation (GoA) 2. During the testing, a train driver was present in a cabin to supervise the travel. This week there will be carried out several test travels for the general public.

Last year’s tests

Four partners launched the ATO tests in the Netherlands last year. In March 2019 Arriva’s train made the first unmanned trip on the Groningen – Zuidhorn line in the Province of Groningen. In October the partners continued the project. The current stage includes the tests with passengers on board. Within this project, the four participants intend to examine the potential of the ATO technology for increasing the track capacity and punctuality on railways, saving energy and providing more comfort and safe trip for the passengers.

“The collaboration between ProRail, the Province of Groningen, Arriva Netherlands and Stadler on ATO is proving successful. Innovation requires the collaboration and sharing of ideas. It means sitting down and talk with passengers to understand their needs. The Stadler ATO system is one of the most innovative technological steps in the industry. It meets our customers’ expectations and paves the way to a digitalised railway,” said Siddhant Tomar, Chief Technology Officer at Stadler Signalling.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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