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Belgium to introduce self-driving trains from 2026

10:45 12/11/2019

Self-driving trains will be introduced to Belgium's rail network to improve punctuality and capacity - but not until 2026 at the very earliest.

Belgian rail network operator Infrabel has set aside an €8 million budget over the next five years to develop the new automated technology.

A driver will remain on-board at all times to open and close the doors and manually over-ride the system in the event of an emergency.

The automation experiment is part of Infrabel's new business plan for 2020-2024, which was recently approved by its board of directors.

"The introduction of automatic train driving will improve capacity and punctuality on the network," said an Infrabel spokesperson.

The new technology will be particularly useful along Brussels' crowded North-South rail junction, where up to 88 trains per hour are squeezed on to six tracks.

Works to upgrade the signalling through the centre of Brussels were completed last weekend, allowing the gaps between trains to be shortened.

Written by The Bulletin