Trials for driverless operations for the East-West Metro corridor in Kolkata started on Monday (20th July 2020). According to Metro Railway officials, everything worked perfectly on the first day but several more rounds of trials will be required before clearance is sought from the commissioner of railway safety (CRS) for commercial operations. The East-West Metro corridor has the advanced Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) system that allows hands-free operations.
“We started automatic train operation (ATO) trials along the East-West Corridor from Monday. Engineers from Ansaldo STS of Italy were there to monitor the operations. Everything worked according to plan. The trains ran by themselves, stopping at stations as per schedule. Synchronization was perfect with the platform screen doors. Though motormen were present, their primary role was starting the trains and opening and closing doors at stations,” said Metro Railway CPRO, Indrani Banerjee.
Under ATO, it is crucial for train running to be properly synchronised with the signalling system. This kind of train running is common in advanced nations, even for the bullet trains, to avoid human error. According to Banerjee, ATO will ensure proper powering and braking, resulting in energy savings. As there will be complete synchronization with the signalling system, there will be no need for application of brakes, either service or emergency, to control over-speeding by motormen.