Driverless trains recently passed a “historic test” in Sydney. They will be transporting passengers between Rouse Hill and Chatswood on the Northwest Metro line by next year.
Autonomous trains are a common sight in the Asia Pacific, in places such as Mainland China, Hong, Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, all of which feature a fully driverless operation.
Driverless trains have travelled around 10,000 km in the trials in Sydney. This has been named as “The milestone we’ve all been waiting for” by the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance on 17 July.
There are 22 driverless trains in Sydney, 9 of which have been delivered from Alstom -a transport manufacturer. The trains resemble those seen in cities like Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong.
The trains weigh approximately 240 tonnes, and will be surveilled from the control centre. Initially, trains were tested at around 60km/h but that will soon increase to around 100km/h.
Sydney Metro will be opening 13 stations in the north west next year with trains coming in 4-minute intervals during peak hour. The stations will then make their way into the city and Bankstown in 2024.
Although they may look identical to other trains, a peek through the window will reveal major differences. Fewer seats are available on the train but there’s more standing room compared to the original double-decker trains.
As a result, some passengers may end up standing for 40 minutes for their journey from Rouse Hill to Chatswood.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insisted on the reduced numbers of seats as she believes more standing room would reduce travel times as commuters will be able to get on and off the train faster.
The network from Macquarie Park to Chatswood will be shut down for as long as seven months to allow progress on the new project. The Premier commented that the inconvenience would be worth it.