Jessica Vermeer
13 February 2020

An automatically operated train from partners Arriva, Prorail, the province of Groningen and Stadler recently took its first 50 passengers on a trip across Groningen. Prorail has been testing without passengers for a year. To guarantee the train’s safety, it operates under a train protection system and the supervision of a driver.

Automatic Train Operation (ATO) enables a train to accelerate and brake automatically (with grade of automation 2). This can alleviate congestion, make journeys smoother and ensure a more reliable service for customers, as it allows trains to travel more closely to each other. In addition, it can save energy, since trains can run at optimal speed.

ATO test train Groningen
Credit: Stadler

Testing in Groningen started in October 2019 and comprises three parts. The current, second phase involves passengers traveling on an ATO train. The aim is to evaluate human factors of ATO usage. The project should also determine the potential increase of track capacity and energy saving and assesses stop precision, punctuality, speed, safety and comfort. This week, the four partners are running a few test trains specifically for the general public.