First regional trains with ATO in service in Luxembourg by end of 2021
Alstom will equip 34 regional double-decker trains of Luxembourg Railways (CFL) with Automatic Train Operation systems. The trains will be gradually introduced on the Luxembourg, Belgian and French railway network from the end of 2021. It is the first time in Europe that a fleet of regional trains will be equipped with ATO level 2 in combination with ETCS, says the company.
Alstom will equip the trains for Luxembourg with ATO Grade of Automation 2. The acceleration, driving and stopping of the train is automated, but there is also a driver present who can intervene in case of emergencies. This allows trains to run closer together, which increases the capacity on the track. It can also save energy, as trains accelerate and decelerate more evenly. The CFL trains are equipped with ATO level 2 train control equipment by the Center of Excellence in signalling, located in Charleroi.
The trains are not in operation yet, CFL ordered the 34 new trains of the Coradia Stream series on December 18, 2018. The new trains will gradually be available from the end of 2021. They will significantly increase the number of seats from more than 27,200 seats in 2018 to 39,100 seats. All trains will be delivered by December 2024.
“In the future, automated trains will allow us to optimise regional rail traffic, reduce energy consumption and increase passenger comfort”, explains Bernard Belvaux, Managing Director of Alstom Benelux. “Automatic train control will play an undeniable role in the development of a modern and attractive railway network. We are proud to be working with CFL on this European first.”
“In Europe, we led the way in implementing ETCS across the entire rail network, a development in line with these priorities”, said Marc Wengler, CEO of Luxembourg Railways CFL. “Automated trains make our service more punctual and enable us to allocate our resources more efficiently enabling us to better serve our customers”.
Grade of Automation
ATO is a train automation system that supports train drivers by taking over certain tasks. This system has four different levels of automation. The higher this Grade of Automation (GoA), the more tasks the system performs. The highest level is GoA 4, where there are no personnel on board, but it is possible to control the train remotely. A number of metro lines are already running on GoA 4. The main advantages of ATO are higher rail capacity, less energy consumption and more punctual and safer rail traffic.
Alstom already has experience with metros that run fully automated and without a driver, and aims to automate trains on interurban lines as well. For example, the company heads the ATO project within the Shift2Rail partnership, supported by the European Commission. In addition, Alstom is involved in various tests with ATO, for example with GoA 3 level with regional passenger trains in Germany. In GoA 3, driving and opening and closing of the doors are fully automated, but there are employees present who can intervene in case of emergency. There are also tests with shunting locomotives in the Netherlands at GoA 4 level.