03/27/2017, 16.16
CHINA
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Beijing to get its first driverless unerground train line, all 'Made in China'

Concern remain over possible accidents and job losses. The nine-station Yanfang line will cover 15 km.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The first driverless underground train line in China’s capital will open this year, reducing human error for its developers, but possibly causing accidents and painful layoffs for its critics.

The new, nine-station Yanfang Line will cover 15 kilometres in south-western Beijing. A command centre will control its speed, braking and doors, and even wash the trains.

Some subway lines in Beijing are already automated, but a driver monitors them.

The Yanfang subway line will also be the first developed by a group of Chinese firms, led by Beijing MTR Construction Administration Co and train maker CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co Ltd.

Shanghai and Guangzhou also have driverless subways but these were developed and manufactured by French rail transport producer Alstom SA and Canada’s Bombardier Inc. respectively.

Beijing currently has 15 lines, which carried an average 8 million passengers a day in 2016. During rush hour at some stations, people have to wait for two or three trains before they can board.

China is trying to develop high-speed and driverless trains, but accidents on its bullet and automated trains have occurred in the past.

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