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Self-drive Mainline Train Now Running on Thameslink Route

Automatic Train Operation

Automatic Train Operation

Thameslink passengers are now experiencing one of the first self-drive train journeys on a UK mainline - although they may not realise it! In combination with Network Rail's new digital signalling system, trains are being run every 2 - 3 minutes St Pancras and Blackfriars.

The use of Siemens self-drive technologyis expected to boost capacity by 60,000 passengers across 80 stations on 12 different routes during 2019. The routes will pass as far north as Peterborough and Cambridge, and south down to Brighton and Maidstone.

The combination of a digital signalling system and self-driving tecchnology will allow trains to run closer together safely and quickly.

However, a driver will still remain on the train to close the doors and ensure safety at stations.

Martin Chatfield, Network Rail project director for High Capacity Infrastructure, added: "Seeing the first UK mainline train running in Automatic Train Operation (ATO) for passenger services is a momentous day for the Thameslink Programme High Capacity Infrastructure Team, and the wider industry teams that have been involved.

"It not only proves the digital railway technology within the heavy rail environment, but it also demonstrates that an industry approach is the way to solving railway capacity issues in the future."

Mark Ferrer, operations director Digital Rail for Siemens also said that this milestone was "the culmination of years spent testing in labs, on various test tracks and on the actual Thameslink Core with the new Class 700 Desiro City trains."