ATO equipment will be fitted to Series E233 EMUs which operate on stopping services between Ayase and Toride on the 30km Joban Line. The ATO equipment will accelerate and decelerate the train and stop the train at fixed positions. The objective is to prevent trains from exceeding the permitted line speed and collisions, as well improving the reliability of the service.

The introduction of ATO is part of a wider objective to improve safety and will be followed by the installation of platform screen doors at the line’s 14 stations.

“By accumulating the knowledge gained from this introduction, we will continue to develop ATO aimed at future driverless operation,” JR East says.

JR East awarded a contract to Thales in 2014 to install Japan’s first communications-based train control (CBTC) system on the Joban Line