French train engineering giant Alstom is to test automated freight trains in the Netherlands this year.
The automated train prototype travel over 100km (60 miles), without driver intervention.
The automation frees the driver to focus on the monitoring of the train’s progress.
The test has the purpose of a live demonstration, that the train and the signal system can effectively communicate to drive the train.
Alstom has signed an agreement with the Dutch infrastructure Manager ProRail and the Rotterdam Rail Feeding (RRF) for the implementation of the tests along the Betuwe route pro – 150 km double-track freight railway line between Rotterdam, Germany.
Full autonomy unlikely
Although the automation as the future of transport, it is unlikely that driverless trains, each with completely Autonomous.
“I can’t always see where it is, no one sits at the front of the train, at all,” the railway journalist Tony Miles told the BBC.
“We prefer to have someone to overwrite it, press a button, for example, if rogue vehicles crash on the tracks, or people jumping in front of trains.
“The driver gets a feel and can say, long before a computer can.
“The Computer are much smarter and feel.”Practical Concerns
Driverless train technology already in place – the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is fully automated – but Mr Miles says that it takes between 30-50 years for the technology to be implemented in Europe, because there is always an automatic alarm system to work over a long distance is difficult to achieve.
There is also the Problem that, while it might be easy for the modernisation of the existing lines is to design an automated rail line, more complicated.
“If you try, the redesign of the great Victorian railway 150 years ago built it is much harder, as they were never designed to be automated,” Mr. Miles said.
“Would you also need to plan for a long time, on the lines off, and when. And in the UK we have the busiest train station in Europe, so that would not be easy.”