A remotely-controlled train completes first trial

France’s national rail operator SNCF has successfully tested a remotely-controlled train completes first trial over a distance of 4 km in the Paris suburbs. Representing a key stage in SNCF’s program to develop automated operations, the ‘drone train’ ran from Villeneuve-Saint-Georges to Juvisy and was driven from a control center established at Vigneux-sur-Seine.

Head of the Autonomous Train Project at SNCF Luc Laroche said: «Test is a huge premiere for the rail system. This successful experiment is a fundamental step towards the achievement of the train of tomorrow.»

SNCF says that two types of technology were tested: satellite transmission and the use of a private cellular LTE network equivalent to 4G. Cameras fitted on the locomotive provided real-time images for the driver in the control center, who accelerated and braked the train.

SNCF envisages that remote control would be used to move trains between stations and maintenance depots, within depots and as a «last mile»service to and from customers’ sidings or terminals.

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