A German-Dutch cooperation project has started testing for the operation of automated freight trains on the Betuweroute. That railway runs from the port of Rotterdam to the German border. In the period up to the end of 2025, tests will be carried out with the remote monitoring and control of the freight trains. Tests will be carried out for a year with automated driving on parts of the Betuweroute.
The German government has awarded a subsidy of 18,9 million euros for the project, in which Deutsche Bahn Cargo is collaborating with railway manager ProRail, among others. The vast majority of that subsidy goes to Deutsche Bahn Cargo. Goods are transported from the port of Rotterdam to the German Ruhr area, where there is a lot of heavy industry, via the Betuweroute. The 160 kilometer long Dutch railway is only used for freight transport.
By automating train traffic, traffic on the Betuweroute should run more efficiently, so that the capacity of the railway line can be used more efficiently. This should also help to strengthen the competitive position of rail freight transport compared to road transport. Rail transport is seen as more environmentally friendly than road freight transport.