ProRail has expressed interest in running a pilot with an automated freight train on the Betuwe line later this year.
Translation by Traci White
ProRail is the Dutch governmental agency responsible for maintenance and upgrades of the national rail network. The Betuwe route runs from Rotterdam through Germany, and Dagblad van het Noorden reports that ProRail is considering following suit with a pilot for an automated passenger train between Groningen and Leeuwarden operated by Arriva as early as 2019.
The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate will first have to approve of the plans before they can move forward, but ProRail president Pier Eringa told De Telegraaf that the organisation expects to get the green light within weeks.
Arriva, which operates regional train service in the northern provinces, has expressed interest in running automated passenger train service, as has the French train manufacturer Alstom. The first automated passenger trains would likely start regular service in 2023 if all goes according to plan.
“Automated trains can drive faster, safer and closer to other trains, which could increase train capacity on busy lines by 50 percent”, Eringa says. “That would mean transporting a lot more passengers, and there’s an urgent need to accommodate them.”