Alstom and ProRail, the Dutch railway infrastructure manager have signed an agreement for ATO test on shunting locomotives in 2021 using a Lineas diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotive. This is the first time Grade of Automation 4 (GoA 4) with shunting trains takes place in the Netherlands.
The French company will equip the locomotive with automatic control technology, intelligent obstacle detection and environment recognition. Classic tasks, such as starting and stopping, pushing wagons, controlling traction and brakes and the handling of emergencies, will be fully automated, train staff remaining aboard to ensure safety protocol during the tests.
The tests will target the GoA4 in a shunting yard, a non-centrally operated area (NCBG) of a locally controlled area where switches and signals are not centrally controlled.
The objective is to demonstrate how the use of fully automated trains can optimise rail operation to ensure cost-effective and sustainable mobility in the face of growing demand in shunting operations.
During the test, ProRail and Lineas will analyse the opportunities of an automatic locomotive and its contribution on the capacity, costs, energy consumption, punctuality and sustainability.
“These tests will help the European rail system benefit from an increase in capacity, reduced energy consumption and cost while offering higher operational flexibility and improved punctuality,” Bernard Belvaux, Alstom Managing Director for Benelux said.
The ATO test on shunting locomotives will enable rail freight operators to double the railway volumes in Europe, which will also help deliver the Green Deal target for smart and sustainable mobility and to achieve EU’s objective to cut the greenhouse gas emissions through innovative technology.
“Technologies like ATO can increase safety and efficiency for both our train drivers and our customers. This will be key if we want to capture the 30% transport growth on rail instead of on already saturated roads,” Geert Pauwels, CEO of Lineas, said.
The ATO test on shunting locomotives is part of ProRail programme under which various tests with automatically controlled trains were carried out. In February, an ATO train test with passengers was organised in the Netherlands.