Metro D will have driverless trains

The city has applied for a building permit to begin work on the new metro line

Being a public transportation driver is becoming a risky job. The new Metro D line, which has not yet begun construction, will have driverless trains. The first part of the line might be ready by 2022.

This comes just after Prague 4 announced its intention to start a pilot program for driverless buses.

Metro D will begin by intersecting with the Green Line, or A Line ,of the existing metro system at Náměstí Míru and also intersect with the Red Line, or C Line, at Pankrác. Overall the new line will have 10 stations and end at Depo Písnice in the southern part of the city.

The city has applied for a building permit to construct the new metro line, but seven lots of land still need to be purchased along the route.

In addition, dozens of parcels of land around the planned stations also need to be acquired. A website in Czech at www.novemetro.cz gives details on the individual stations and the route. Tunneling work may begin before all of the land is purchased.

Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek (Social Democrats, ČSSD) said that “intensive negotiations” were taking place with the land owners. He added that it was possible that the line would open with some stations unbuilt. This previously happened when the Yellow Line, or B Line, was extended to Černý Most in 1998 and the Kolbenova metro stop opened later in 2001.

The new Metro D line will have some other innovations aside from driverless trains. The stations will have turnstiles to allow access, deviating from the honor system at existing metro stops.

Also, since the new driverless trains are automated and all of the same design, they will be able to stop in the same spot every time. This will allow for glass safety walls separating passengers from the track. Glass sliding doors will open once the train arrives, and these doors should line up precisely with the train doors. Similar systems are already common worldwide in newer metro systems.

The cost of the new metro line is estimated at Kč 50 billion and will in part use EU funds.

The most recent changes to the metro system was the addition of four stations on the A Line, extending it to Nemocnice Motol. The extension cost Kč 20 billion.

Approval for the plan to build the new line came in 2015, but the idea is not new. Various proposals to build a metro into the southern part of the city came in the 1960s and '70s, but have constantly been delayed. Interest in the project was renewed after the floods of 2002.

A version of the line using a driverless light rail train was proposed in 2004, but many people felt it had insufficient capacity. A driverless metro line was suggested in 2009, but was stalled due to lack of funds. A plan for driverless metro trains was finalized in 2011.

In July 2015 the driverless metro train plan was approved, and construction should begin three years after that, or in 2018.

The Metro D line would be the first completely new line since Metro B, which opened in 1985.

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