08 October 2021


In October, a new Automatic Train Operation (ATO) test project for cargo started on the Betuwe route, which connects the Port of Rotterdam (Netherlands) with the German Ruhr region. The aim of the German-Dutch cooperation project is to trial and test the control and remote monitoring of automated trains in rail freight traffic for the first time by the end of 2025. The project includes a one-year test run on the Dutch section of the Betuwe Route, which is an important corridor for rail freight.

The ATO project is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) with €18.9 million, of which DB Cargo will receive €17.5 million. The project is a joint effort by DB Cargo, Digital Rail Germany (DSD), the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Dutch infrastructure operator ProRail.

By automating train operations, the aim is to achieve better utilisation of track capacity and improve transport quality by selecting the optimum speed in each case. The competitiveness of rail freight transport compared with road transport could thereby be significantly improved, representing an important element for shifting transport volumes from road to rail.

The project implements an important component of the German-Dutch "Joint Declaration of Intent on the cooperation in promoting rail freight operations" of 2019. The declaration was drawn up with the participation of representatives of the rail transport sector of both countries between the German and Dutch ministries of transport and signed at the level of state secretaries. 

Source: Verkehrsrundschau