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The Seven Stars' distinctive locomotive

The Japanese regional railway JR Kyushu has become the first company in Japan to build a luxury sleeper cruise train, spending close to 3 billion yen (US$29.9 million). The Seven Stars cruise train comes equipped with the latest motion control technology, 14 luxury guest rooms, two deluxe suites, three presidential suites, a lounge car, dining car and bar.  Read More

Design sketches of Elon Musk's proposed Hyperloop high-speed tube transport system

Now that the media kerfuffle surrounding Elon Musk's Hyperloop transit system proposal has settled down to a dull roar, it's a good time to step back and consider in detail some of the real innovations and difficult issues raised through analysis of the 57-page Hyperloop plan.  Read More

An artist's impression of California's new high-speed train

When people grumble about how they think the US isn’t as technologically advanced as it should be, they like to bring up bullet trains – Europe and Asia have them, so why doesn’t America? Well, it’s getting one. Work is starting this summer on a high-speed rail line running from San Francisco to Los Angeles, that will carry a passenger train traveling at over 200 mph (322 km/h).  Read More

An Intelligent Transport System being developed at La Trobe University is aimed at prevent...

In the quest for smarter and safer transportation networks, automakers have been working on communication systems that use wireless technologies to share information between vehicles and infrastructure, such as traffic lights, road works, intersections and stop signs. The potential applications of these vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) systems are constantly being expanded, and while GM has been working to bring cyclists and pedestrians into the mix, a team from La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, is looking to improve safety at railway crossings by developing a system that enables communication between trains and road vehicles.  Read More

What is Elon Musk's Hyperloop? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Over the past year, Elon Musk, billionaire founder of PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, has been floating the notion of a "Hyperloop" as a future replacement for bullet trains; one that would get commuters from San Francisco to Los Angeles in as little as 30 minutes. There has been much speculation over how the Hyperloop works, as Musk has revealed very few details. So what has Musk actually said and what might this translate to in the real world?  Read More

Researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a device capable of harvesting ener...

Much of the abundant mechanical energy around us is irregular and oscillatory and can be somewhat difficult to efficiently tap into. Typical energy harvesting systems tend to be built for low power applications in the milliwatts range but researchers from New York's Stony Brook University have developed a new patent-pending electromagnetic energy harvester capable of harnessing the vibrations of a locomotive thundering down a stretch of track to power signal lights, structural monitoring systems or even track switches.  Read More

An elevated electric train in Holland (Photo: Shutterstock)

Electric commuter trains, while quiet and fast, have one glaring inefficiency – when they brake at a station, the energy of the moving train is lost, even when the motors are electrically reversed. Capturing the electrical energy generated during braking is simple, but efficiently redistributing it through the power grid is not. The result, in too many systems, is that the braking energy is simply wasted. Now an energy storage project in Philadelphia aims to capture and efficiently utilize that braking energy, providing a clear view into the potential of the forthcoming smart grid.  Read More

Terraspan's giant, 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) vacuum tube train, which also doubles as a super...

In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it?  Read More

Locomotive 3463, the 75 year-old test bed locomotive for CSR's Project 130

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.  Read More

NTV Italo high speed train (Photo: NTV)

Nuovo Transporto Viaggiatori (NTV), a company founded by a group of entrepreneurs headed by the president of Ferrari, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, has unleashed twenty five luxury high-speed trains on the Italian railways. This makes NTV the first private high-speed rail network carrier in the country and the first company in the world to use the next-generation Alstom AGV trains. Although called “Italo”, the “Ferrari train” label seems to describe the racing red beasts somewhat more accurately. The thrill of traveling at high speeds in a Ferrari is soon to be available to anyone who can afford a train ticket!  Read More

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