Investing in a future driverless rail network
Fully automated driverless GOA4 transport system: “Rail Network of the Future”
Denmark is currently facing investments and changes within their rail infrastructure with the railway being expanded and modernised with enhanced technology. Furthermore, new and modern electric trains will be put in service.
In December 2017, the Danish government together with the political parties DF and RV decided that the next generation of S-Trains shall be implemented as a driverless operation. The conversion shall be executed in a Public-Private-partnership set-up (PPP). The documents released as part of the announcement of the political agreement can be found on www.trm.dk (in danish).
The decision support documents were developed by Rambøll/Parsons for the Danish Government and the central report can be found on www.trm.dk.
One of the places where the railway will be updated in the coming years is the (sub)urban S-Train in Greater Copenhagen: S-Train: The current ambition of the Copenhagen Future Rail Network programme over the next 15 years is to change the Copenhagen wider network, figure 1, from a traditional urban railway to a fully automated driverless GOA4 transport system: “Copenhagen Future Rail Network”.
The restructuring will benefit growth and mobility in the metropolitan area and continue to contribute to a climate-friendly urban environment and create space for more customers and thus the least congestion. With today’s standards, the new extensive Greater Copenhagen Future Rail Network service will become the world’s largest and fastest driverless mass-transit system.
This is a comprehensive change on an 85-year-old railway, which involves massive investment. It will involve organizational and technical changes with a key focus on an accurate control of the transition from old to new services and infrastructure.
The transition is closely linked to the ongoing upgrading of the signalling system and a necessary replacement of the current S-trains, where the original first-delivered train approaches the retirement age in 2026.
DSB - First steps to Date
DSB are now embarking on the initial phase of the project in which the strategy for the next steps for market engagement is being defined, namely; Rolling stock options, GOA4 Automation technology, line side and platform safety technology, Electrical & Power requirements, Civils & Infrastructure, Safety as well as Operations and Maintenance. Within each of these disciplines, DSB are exploring how much should be changed in relation to today’s assets, what can be readily purchased on the market, and whom within the rail industry can deliver the complex tasks and manage their associated risks.
Initially, DSB look forward to enter into a dialogue with the market. First step is an “Expression of Interest” that will be published in June 2019 on a European tender portal. Second step is to publish an information package to the suppliers that have signed up. Third step is receipt and assessment of the responses from the market and engage in one-on-one discussions with selected market representatives. The responses from the market will be used for drafting the tender material(s).
Once the contracts are awarded, the development, production and purchasing of assets for the new automated train system will commence. Prior to the delivery phase, finalising and implementing the transition strategy to maintain current train operation with the current system, while the new system is gradually phased in is critical to the success of the project.
The newly proposed future network will be the worlds’ first large scale GOA4 automation project whilst encompassing highly technical and organizational complexity.