The plan for this weekend's testing is pretty much as Colin says, proving the guideway data, making sure trains stop accurately. A lot of the comms side is proved in advance in a passive mode, this is the first time things become active, so to speak.
As for the ease/difficulty of this compared to the Victoria line; ATO replacing ATO or ATO replacing manual actually doesn't make much odds. The tricky thing is that the Victoria line, whilst a 'system', was quite discreet in ATO and ATP. Seltrac is much more of a train control system.
H&C trains Hammersmith-Baker Street will now run in passenger service, previously booked as empty for testing purposes.
Strangely enough TfL website says they will only stop at Hammersmith and Baker Street - skipping all intermediate stations.
CIRCLE LINE: Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November, no Circle line service throughout the line (a shuttle Hammersmith & City line service operates between Hammersmith and Baker Street only). For intermediate stations, please use alternative London Underground lines or local London Buses services.
HAMMERSMITH & CITY LINE: Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 November, no service between Baker Street and Barking. A shuttle service will operate every 10 minutes between Hammersmith and Baker Street. For intermediate stations, please use alternative London Underground lines or local London Buses services. Replacement buses operate.
Bit misleading with what they’ve typed, I guess there are other ways to say that for example, “use alternative routes for all other Circle/Hammersmith & City line stations”.
So after Baker Street, will these trains continue empty to the SMA3 area? If so, will they reverse at West Ham?
Whilst I'm not directly involved, so can't say with absolute authority, I would suggest its unlikely the two are linked.
The SMA0.5 section was to be operationally proved using normal Train Operators/Instructor Operators running to a timetable.
The SMA3 section is only being tested and thus uses Test Train Operators with train movements only conducted as required to test whatever needs testing. Given this is the first actual test using trains in the SMA3 area, I'd be very surprised if there was much actually going on in terms of train movements.
4 test trains , 2 X 8 cars from Neasden Depot , 2 X 7 cars from Barking sidings.