The NSW government has shown off the first in its fleet of autonomous trains in preparation for the opening of Sydney’s new Northwest Metro train line.
The $8.3 billion project will be unleashed in the first half of next year, with services running every four minutes between Rouse Hill and Chatswood during peak hours.
Transport minister Andrew Constance said 94 percent of the trackwork is already completed. Testing of the trains is ongoing at the Sydney Metro Trains facility in Rouse Hill.
So far testing has focused the functionality of systems like passenger information displays, lighting, door operation, as well as accelerating and breaking at different speeds.
Testing will gradually be expanded to the elevated Skytrain and new tunnels between Bella Vista and Epping.
The government says it is consulting with the National Rail Safety Regulator to ensure the new trains meet appropriate safety standards.
The trains are manufactured by French company Alstom and are based on its Metropolis design. Each 132 metre train weighs about 240 tonnes. They are made from stainless and carbon steel.
It’s estimated the autonomous railway system will be able to move more than 40,000 people per hour, compared to other suburban lines’ 23,000 people per hour capacity.
The trains will have full mobile coverage, air conditioning, and display real-time travel information and live electronic route maps.
By 2024 the Berejiklian government hopes to extend the service out to Bankstown and to 31 Sydney metro stations.