Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Trains

Artists rendering a String Transport system

Trains might be a reasonably cheap transport option - but rail infrastructure is very costly to build. Monorail, maglev systems and high speed rail are more expensive again - and prices really skyrocket when you have to build bridges, tunnels and winding mountain routes, or cover difficult terrain. Which is why Anatoly Unitsky's String Transport Systems look like they've got so much potential. The system uses solid steel/concrete rails, reinforced with extremely high tension steel wires, to provide an efficient and smooth rail system anywhere between 3 to 30 meters above the ground. It's earthquake, hurricane and terrorist-proof, and capable of supporting vehicle speeds over 500 kmh, too, making it a genuine high-speed rail alternative, for a fraction of the price of road or ground rail alternatives. Fascinating stuff!  Read More

The new study by researchers at the University of California looks beyond the exhaust pipe...

By looking at the environmental impact of passenger transport – whether it be trains, planes or automobiles – beyond the exhaust fumes spewing from its collective tail pipe, researchers in the United States have discovered a significant spike in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. By taking into account transport support systems – which includes sourcing raw materials, manufacturing, as well as the construction and maintenance of infrastructure – researchers at the University of California hope to provide a more detailed view for transport planners and policy makers. And produce a better outcome for the environment.  Read More

The solar bullet train could make the 116 mile journey from Tucson to Phoenix in just 30 m...

Bullet trains are considered by many to be one of the greener forms of transport, so imagine how environmentally friendly they might be if the sun’s power was harnessed to power them. That’s precisely what Solar Bullet LLC hopes to do with its 220mph solar bullet train, which the company claims can travel from Tucson to Phoenix in just 30 minutes.  Read More

The ES44C4 ecomaginationSM locomotive

The latest model in GE's fuel efficient and low emissions Evolution series has just hit the tracks. Offering cleaner, significantly faster, safer and more reliable alternative to the aging North American fleet of DC-powered locomotives, the new ES44C4 features a unique Dynamic Weight Management System which automatically improves traction at start up, on inclines or in poor weather conditions.  Read More

Series E5 bullet train

A new Shinkansen bullet train being built to go into service on the East Japan line will travel at up to 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph), making it the fastest rail service in Japan. Test runs for the Series E5 train are planned for July 2009 ahead of its debut in spring 2011. The 10-car train will be initially operate at a top speed of 300 kph, ramping up to 320kmh by the end of March 2013.  Read More

Kawasaki to build Japan's fastest train

Plans announced by Kawasaki Heavy Industries could see a new record set for high-speed train travel in Japan. The design for the rail vehicle dubbed the “Environmentally Friendly Super Express Train” (efSET) is expected to be completed by the end of 2009 and its promised operating speed has been pitched around the 217mph (350 kmh) mark, quicker than the fastest trains currently operating on the country's high-speed Shinkansen network which clock around 188mph (300kmh).  Read More

Maglev Train tops 500kmh

The Transrapid in Shanghai has set a new world for commercial railway systems of 501 kmh (311 mph). The maglev (magnetic levitation) train, which has no wheels, axels, engine or transmission, broke the 500 kmh mark on November 12 on the 30 km track between Long Yang Station and Pudong International Airport...  Read More

The latest Autotram prototype

December 2006 The concept of a dual-mode vehicle that will run on tram or train tracks and is also capable of driving on the road is gaining ground with the news that Japanese rail firm JR Hokkaido is poised to launch its dual-mode bus and rail vehicle we previewed two years ago. The company will begin conducting commercial tests in April 2007 and preliminary trials suggest the vehicle’s fuel cost is about a quarter of a diesel vehicle, and maintenance cost about one-eighth, while offering the flexibility to extend railed systems. Similarly, the European AutoTram concept is also gathering a following. The Autotram can be up to 36 meters long, can carry as many passengers as a streetcar while being as versatile as a bus. One of the key aspects of the Autotram is its flywheel energy storage system that facilitates a regenerative braking system and signficiantly cuts operating costs. The Bladerunner concept is another dual-mode transport system.  Read More

Japanese experiment with combination bus/train

Experiments in Japan with dual-mode vehicle (DMV) technology are yielding promising results. JR Hokkaido has been installing a dual wheel train-tyre system on microbuses so that they can be used as both road and light rail transport.The use of the vehicles on congestion-free railway tracks makes rail transport far more viable, with the cost of remodeling a microbus being approximately 10% ofthe cost for ordinary train cars and as weight is also around 10%, railway tracks require less maintenance. Commercial systems are planned for market by 2007.  Read More

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