Dutch Premiere: Train with ATO Carries Passengers

A premiere in the Dutch city of Groningen: a train featuring ATO carried passengers for the first time.

Stadler, ProRail, the province of Groningen, and Arriva Nederland invited 50 guests from politics and business as well as interested members of the public to participate in a trip on a train using automatic train operation (ATO). The train is equipped with a train protection system and a train driver was also on board.

ATO test train in Groningen
ATO test train in Groningen

The train is equipped with Grade of Automation 2 (GoA 2). This means a train is capable of driving and stopping on its own. Furthermore an ATO train can stop in exact spots at stations. The train in question was a Stadler diesel-electric GTW, which Arriva Nederland made available. Safety is guaranteed since the train possesses a train protection system and the on-board train driver can also intervene at any point.

ATO Testing in Groningen

The tests in Groningen have been running since October 2019. They break down into three phases. This current phase is the second phase and is involves passengers for the first time. The aim of the project is to observe human behaviour during automatic train operation. A further objective is to determine the potential of the technology with regard to increasing capacity and obtaining energy savings. Lastly, the tests will reveal the train’s stopping accuracy, punctuality, speed, safety and passenger comfort.

GTW DMU Arriva
The GTW test train

Automatic train operation can relieve congestion, make train journeys more comfortable and offer customers a more reliable service. ATO allows trains to run more closely together. It is also more energy-efficient because trains always travel at the optimum speed. The use of the breaks is consequently optimised as well.

Stadler, the province of Groningen, ProRail and Arriva Nederland will conduct further test runs for the public this week. Anyone interested is therefore able to experience an ATO train.

Siddhant Tomar, Chief Technology Officer at Stadler Signalling, said:

“This is a very exciting project, and we are pleased that the tests have gone well. Similarly, the collaboration between ProRail, the Province of Groningen, Arriva Netherlands and Stadler on ATO is proving successful. Innovation requires the collaboration and sharing of ideas. It means sitting down and talk with passengers to understand their needs. The Stadler ATO system is one of the most innovative technological steps in the industry. It meets our customers’ expectations and paves the way to a digitalised railway.”

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