The Future Of Trains

June 1, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

The Economist took a look at not only the advancements in rail technology but, just as interestingly, why we don’t really pay attention to them:

  • To the casual observer trains are a throwback to an earlier era, before the widespread adoption of automobiles and airplanes.
  • However trains have been getting increasingly advanced. People notice the technological development of automobiles because people buy their own cars and car companies advertise the newest features to consumers. In contrast nobody buys their own train.
  • Moreover people don’t notice rail developments because trains last a lot longer. Any new technology could take several decades to work its way through the rail systems of the world.
  • But things are changing. Some technologies, for example, allow the energy harvested from a braking train to be used to speed up a train that’s looking to accelerate on another track. Others simply feed the energy back into the national grid.
  • Another idea is to abandon the concept of ever having to stop a train altogether –a process that wastes a lot of time and energy. Instead a moving platform would dock with a train so that passengers could board without the train ever stopping.
  • A proponent of the idea of moving stations points out that this is similar to docking crafts in space – and those seem to go off without a hitch.

Read much more about the fascinating and exciting technologies being developed for trains, and why people have such a vested interest in making trains more efficient over here.

Source: The Economist