ProRail wants to start testing self-driving trains this year

Image of NS double decker Dutch train sitting in station


Railway operator ProRail is going ahead with plans to operate self-driving trains. The first tests will start at the end of this year, broadcaster NOS reports.

ProRail is preparing an extensive programme which will eventually see driverless trains running on automatic pilot along established routes with only a monitor on board. Which routes will be chosen and which train companieswill participate in the scheme is still unknown.

‘Railway companies can’t close their eyes to the future and the technological possibilities’, ProRail’s CEO Piet Eringa told NOS. According to Eringa, the manufacturers of self-driving cars are leading the way. What can be done on a road should be possible on the railway which is technically less challenging, Eringa said.

Driverless metro systems have long been in operation in cities like Paris, Neurenberg and Rome and the same technique would be used on the trains.

ProRail has said it will be ‘a few years yet’ before the first driverless train will be fully operational and integrated into the system, NOS said.