Alstom will equip a 1.15MW Siemens/Vossloh class 77 diesel-hydraulic shunting locomotive owned by Belgian private freight operator Lineas with automatic control technology, intelligent obstacle detection and environment recognition.  

Normal tasks such as starting and stopping, shunting wagons, controlling traction and braking and the handling of emergencies will be fully automated, with staff remaining onboard to ensure safety during the tests.

Alstom says the tests will demonstrate how the use of fully automated trains can optimise operation to ensure cost-effective and sustainable mobility in the face of growing demand for shunting.

“This project is paving the way for a fully digitalised railway,” says Mr Bernard Belvaux, Alstom’s managing director for Benelux. “These tests will help the European rail system benefit from an increase in capacity, reduced energy consumption and cost while offering higher operational flexibility and improved punctuality. This test is fully in line with Alstom’s strategy to bring added value to our customers for smart and green mobility.”

Alstom is already active in ATO development on the Dutch network, working with Prorail and private freight operate Rotterdam Rail Feeding (RFF) to equip upgraded V100 East diesel locomotives with Alstom’s ETCS Level 2 onboard system.

Prorail is pursuing a policy to become a leader in ATO development by facilitating testing on the Dutch network. During 2018, various ATO tests were successfully undertaken at GoA 2 on the Betuweroute dedicated freight line between the port of Rotterdam and the Dutch-German border near Emmerich.