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Author Topic: SNCF - Driverless Trains by 2023?  (Read 652 times)
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« on: September 13, 2018, 09:12:38 am »

stuving - I see your high speed rail riposte, and raise you...a bunch of driverless trains!

From DW:

Quote from: DW
France's SNCF rail network plans driverless trains by 2023

Germany's Bosch engineering company is part of the consortia developing driverless freight and passenger trains over the next five years. The project is part of the modernizing drive for the French state railway.

French state railway concern SNCF announced the project for mainline, long-distance trains which is to be financed by the SNCF, the French state and commercial partners. French cities, including Paris, already have driverless metro trains.

The €57 million ($66 million) first phase of the development is divided into two consortia:
A prototype for driverless freight trains which includes the commercial Alstom, Altran, Hitachi-Ansaldo and Apsys (Airbus) companies
A passenger train prototype for regional TER routes which will be developed in partnership with Bombardier, Bosch, Spirops and Thales.

SNCF said it is in discussions with Deutsche Bahn to promote a European standard for driverless trains.

Director of the autonomous train project Luc Laroche said: "These human and technological issues are considerable ones. We are mobilizing the collective intelligence, competence and savoir-faire of our partners from the varied world of industry."

"These partners constitute a world first for ambition, approach and combined skills," Laroche said.

Read more: French Senate approves SNCF overhaul, cementing Emmanuel Macron's rail reforms

President of Bosch France, Heiko Carrie said "As a provider of leading mobility solutions, the Bosch Group is pleased to be part of this consortium and to be able to contribute, thanks to its technology, to this important new step towards autonomous trains."

Major changes for SNCF

In its statement, the SNCF said the benefits of autonomized trains for passengers and for freight clients would be greater capacity, better circulation of trains and improved timekeeping. It also said the trains would use less energy and therefore have ecological benefits.

"The digital transformation of the network and signal system will make it possible for more and better trains to circulate," SNCF Network President Patrick Jeantet said. "It is essential to develop autonomous trains. It will make us a champion of digital industry."

SNCF has 17,000 trains and transports 4 million passengers every day. It is currently running an annual deficit of €3 billion and attempts to change working practices have been met with a series of strikes by many of its 146,800 employees.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Bruno le Maire said: "For 30 years we have shied away from making the necessary transformation of SNCF and for 30 years we've seen the service deteriorate... We can't go on like this. We're going into the wall." The current annual government subsidy to SNCF is €14 billion.

The plan is to roll out the first semi-autonomous trains by 2020 and completely-autonomous trains by 2023.

Or if you prefer, The Guardian:

Quote from: The Guardian
France’s national railway operator SNCF has announced plans to introduce prototypes of driverless mainline trains for passengers and freight by 2023.

“With autonomous trains, all the trains will run in a harmonized way and at the same speed,” SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said. “The train system will become more fluid.”

The operator hopes the switch will allow it to run more trains on France’s busiest main lines, and cut energy consumption.

Many French cities, including Paris, already run driverless metro trains but driverless long-distance travel presents a new set of challenges, Pepy said.

“Railways are an open system, and the unexpected is the rule,” he said.

SNCF will be partnering up with rolling stock specialists Alstom and Bombardier who will be heading up consortia for freight and passenger traffic, respectively.

Pierre Izard, who runs SNCF’s rail technologies division, said the shift to driverless trains was to happen in stages, “up to the most extreme of automatisation, when there is no human presence onboard”.

Pepy said autonomous trains were “clearly the future”, but he added it may take time before passengers accept boarding them.

Although Australia, China and Japan are already experimenting with driverless trains, France is not coming too late to the game, said Carole Desnost, head of innovation at SNCF.

The French rail operator said it was talking to German operator Deutsche Bahn about promoting a European standard for driverless trains.

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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2018, 06:37:05 am »

It's not a new thing in the UK. GWR have scores of driverless trains, mostly on Sundays.
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