Stadler has conducted a trial run of an ATO (Automatic Train Operation) train for 50 VIPs on a trip in Groningen, the Netherlands.

It carried out the test run in partnership with ProRail, the Provincie Groningen and Arriva Netherlands.

This marked the first operation of an ATO train carrying passengers from the Netherlands. The train can accelerate and brake automatically.

To ensure the safety of the train, it operates under the supervision of a driver and a train protection system.

The train operated in Grade of Automation (GoA) two, in which the train can automatically move and stop at the platform. The train used the journey profile given by ATO trackside.

Testing of the ATO began in October and has three phases. Phase two, the current phase, will carry passengers aboard an ATO.

This phase hopes to assess human factors in the use of ATO.

The ATO is capable of reducing congestion, offering smoother journeys and better service for customers.

Stadler also said that, as the trains can operate at the optimum speed, it saves energy during braking adjustment.

Stadler Signalling CTO Siddhant Tomar said: “This is a very exciting project, and we are pleased that the tests have gone well. Similarly, the collaboration between ProRail, the Province of Groningen, Arriva Netherlands and Stadler on ATO is proving successful. Innovation requires the collaboration and sharing of ideas.

“It means sitting down and talk with passengers to understand their needs. The Stadler ATO system is one of the most innovative technological steps in the industry. It meets our customers’ expectations and paves the way to a digitalised railway.”

In November, Alstom signed an agreement to test the Coradia iLint. Hydrogen fuel cells power this train, a first for the Netherlands.

Hydrogen fuel cells produce electrical power for traction.