Russia could get driverless trains

This type of driverless trains is already running on many railways from around the world in urban transport. In Europe, we find them in Denmark (Copenhagen Metro), Spain (Barcelona), Italy (Rome, Turin, Milan and Brescia), France (Paris, Rennes, Oryval, Toulouse, Lille and Lyon), Germany (Nurnberg), Switzerland (Lausanne) and Hungary (Budapest).

Since Russia would not want to stay behind regarding the placing in service of driverless trains, the authorities have recently released in the market the announcement according to which they planned to put into service fully automated passenger trains.
Russian Railways President Oleg Belozerov said that they were focusing their efforts in this direction and that the rail passenger transport operator he led planned to launch this type of service in a few years.
According to Belozerov, Luzhskaya rail station from Moscow is the most indicated as it meets all the conditions and requirements necessary for the operation of driverless trains.
Moreover, Moscow Central Circle is ready to operate driverless trains.
“However, passenger traffic on this Central Circle is very high so that the problem of rail traffic safety arises. For this reason, we need time, possibly a few years, to clearly set if this technology would allow us to introduce driverless trains that would run in perfectly safe conditions”, explained Russian Railways President.
This April, Russia’s railway company announced it planned to collaborate with rail transport developers and engineers to facilitate the implementation of a new technology of driverless trains. Moskovskaya and Oktyabrskaya railways are also considered for launching this innovative service. The contracts signed for the development of the new technology would amount to RUB 320 million (USD 5.6 million), according to Russia’s public tendering website. The deadline for the development and introduction of the driverless technology in the Russian railway market is the end of 2019.
Russia is working at a new technology, the authorities announcing that in Luzhskaya rail station, in Leningrad region, a fully automated system was implemented to enable the separation of the cars that form a train. The infrastructure that will allow the driver to remotely control several locomotives at the same time, is currently under development.
In March, Moscow Metro introduced on the Central Circle, an automated train control system. According to the Municipality and Moscow Government, metro trains are still travelling in the presence of a driver, but the basic functions for train control are fully automated.
The new system will allow the train to automatedly travel from one station to another, the driver’s task being to monitor the operation of the train. Also, the driver can take over the train control in case danger arises. At present, only one such train travels on the Central Circle of Moscow Metro, but the authorities announce the commissioning of another two such metro vehicles, fitted with an automated system.

This article was published in the June issue of the Railway PRO Magazine that analyses the latest and most important railway projects around the world.

by Elena Ilie

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