Alstom to test automated freight train in the Netherlands

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French engineering group Alstom is seen at the plant in Aytre near La Rochelle, France, August 31, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

(Reuters) - A train will travel for about 100 kilometers (62 miles) without driver intervention as part of the first test of an automated train for overground freight by Alstom, the French train-maker said on Monday.

The test will be carried out in the Netherlands in 2018 as part of an agreement with Dutch infrastructure operator ProRail and Rotterdam Rail Feeding (RRF), Alstom said. The train will travel from the Rotterdam Harbour district to CUP Valburg in the eastern part of the Netherlands.

Automatic Train Operation (ATO) systems, which automate the driver’s tasks while he supervises, have already been introduced on metro systems and can cut energy consumption by making trains run more uniformly and at closer intervals, Alstom said.

“Automated trains are on the innovation agenda of several countries,” said Alstom’s Senior Vice President in Europe, Gian-Luca Erbacci.

Alstom has introduced ATO on more than a hundred metro lines since the 1970s and in 2017 the company implemented the system for Paris’s RER-A double-decker suburban trains.

Reporting by Clement Martinot; Editing by Mark Potter