The first SNCF remote control train travelled in Paris in April, but the French railway company made the announcement earlier this week.
The unit including a Corail coach transformed into a laboratory and a platform wagon plus two shunting locomotives run in April on 4 km between Villeneuve-Saint-Georges (Val-de-Marne) and Juvisy (Essonne). The vehicle was controlled from a control centre located a few km away in Vigneux-sur-Seine (Essonne).
“This successful experiment has proved the technical feasibility of railway remote control”, SNCF declared in a press release. The cameras installed on the locomotives have allowed the remote driver to provide braking and acceleration all across the testing period. Data were satellite-borne and conveyed through a 4G-equivalent LTE private mobile phone network.
Train remote control will allow taking over the control of an autonomous train in case of incidents and will also facilitate shunting and freight train services. “It is a major breakthrough for the railway system. This successful experiment is a fundamental step in developing the trains of the future”, declared Luc Laroche, project manager SNCF.
The experiment was carried out by SNCF in collaboration with Railenium, a technological research institute based in Valenciennes (northern France), Actia electric system manufacturer, the national space studies centre (Cnes) and Thales Group.