The locomotive hauled a short train from Kijfhoek freight yard south of Rotterdam and Valburg CUP yard between Nijmegen and Arnhem. Testing was carried out at Grade of Automation (GoA) Level 2 with the locomotive driver starting the train and supervising supervise train operation. No interventions were made by the driver during the first trip.

ProRail CEO, Mr Pier Eringa, who was present for the test, hailed the first run as a success and stressed his organisation’s commitment to encouraging the development of main line ATO with the aim of making the Dutch rail sector a leader in the technology.

Prorail sees ATO as a mean of boosting capacity on the intensively-used Dutch rail network, which is facing further increases in ridership over the next decade, as well as improving safety and punctuality.

Passenger ATO trial imminent

Meanwhile ProRail and its partners are preparing for the first ATO trials with passenger trains. The test will involve Arriva Nederland and northern the province of Groningen. The first trial run is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2019 on one of the province’s non-electrified lines, where Arriva operates passenger services using Stadler DMUs.