Autonomous trains are one of the most exciting developments to hit the rail market in recent years. The technology is still relatively new but has been in use in places like Singapore for a long time. Sydney, however, is about to get its very own automated train network – the first of its kind in the country when it goes live in Q2 of 2019.
The future of rail transportation
The new Sydney Metro system has been many years in the works, but it recently passed a big milestone in completing the first successful test on an actual rail line. The train drove itself across the new bridge over Windsor Road at Rouse Hill. The new line is just a small part of the $8.3 billion project that will connect 31 stations with over 66 km of new rail. Testing has been focused on making sure all the pieces of the train work as they should – the passenger information displays, doors and making sure the train handled acceleration and braking as it should.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance said that the Metro service will deliver "a train every four minutes, turn up and go service which can move 46,000 passengers per hour compared to the existing train network which is 24,000".
The system will initially launch in the North-west, connecting 13 stations. In 2024, it will expand further into the city as well as out to Bankstown.
Unfortunately, there is a catch, at least in the short term. In order for the new lines to be introduced on the Epping to Chatswood line, a seven month shutdown has to be endured. During this time, passengers will have to take buses instead. A small price to pay, however, for the advantages that automated trains will bring to the city.
The trains themselves are constructed from carbon steel and stainless steel. On the inside, there are far fewer seats than the trains that run currently, which the Government have said will increase capacity as well as make it easier to people to get on and off the train quickly.
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