Betuweroute freight line to trial ATO

Photo: Aerovista Luchtfotografie /

Alstom, Dutch infrastructure manager ProRail and shunting firm Rotterdam Rail Feeding (RRF) have signed a deal to perform automatic train operation (ATO) tests on the Betuweroute line.

ATO automates the train driver’s operations to allow trains to operate at closer intervals – which increases capacity – while also reducing energy consumption because trains operate more uniformly. This leaves the driver to focus on supervision tasks.

The tests on Betuweroute – a 150km double-track freight line from Rotterdam to Germany – will be performed with a level 2 grade of automation on the ERTMS-equipped route.

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The purpose of the tests is to perform a live demonstration with an RRF locomotive running in ATO from the Rotterdam Harbour district to CUP Valburg in the eastern part of the Netherlands. The locomotive will run approximately 100km without driver intervention on rail sections equipped with two different ERTMS levels (1 and 2).

Automatic shunting movements on the yard of CUP Valburg will also be tested.

Alstom said that ATO system has already proven its advantages on metro networks and that this test will continue to support the progress of this technology.

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