Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

July 17, 2017 by  
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Train travel in India just got a little greener. Last week Indian Railways rolled out their first train outfitted with rooftop solar panels – in the Delhi area notorious for its pollution . The solar panels will completely power fans, lighting, and display systems in the coaches. The government expects the move will save them around 5,547 gallons of diesel every single year. The train, a 1600 HP DEMU, is just the first of several more trains with solar-powered coaches to come. Indian Railways will install solar panels on 24 other trains in the upcoming six months. In the past, a diesel-fueled generator provided electricity for a train’s lighting and fans, but the new solar system includes a smart MPPT inverter so these features can be cleanly powered even during the night. According to Indian Railways, the solar panels will slash carbon dioxide generation by nine metric tons per coach per year. Related: Indian Railways installing rooftop solar panels on 250 trains 16 solar panels generating 300 watts each offer a 4.5 kilowatt peak capacity for each coach. The system can generate around 20 kilowatt-hours of clean power per day. A 120 AH battery system will store excess power generated during peak hours. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said the railways are committed to conserving the environment and using more clean energy . The government’s press release on the trains pointed to other measures the railways have taken to become more environmentally friendly, such as the use of bio-toilets , biofuels, and wind energy. Jakson Engineers, under the guidance of the Indian Railways Organization for Alternative Fuels (IROAF), developed the new train solar system. Managing director Sundeep Gupta told Business Standard is was no easy feat to attach solar panels to trains that will move at speeds of 80 kilometers per hour, which is around 50 miles per hour. The train has a lifetime of around 25 years. Via Quartz India and Government of India Images via screenshot and Ministry of Railways on Twitter

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Indian Railways launches first train with solar-powered coaches

France aims to roll out world’s first autonomous high-speed trains within 7 years

June 16, 2017 by  
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High-speed trains in France could soon be driverless, if the country’s national railway operator SNCF has anything to say about it. They aim to test what they call drone trains in 2019, with the hope the TGV trains could start running around four years after that. SNCF President Guillaume Pepy said if the project is successful, they will be the world’s first operator to run a high-speed autonomous train. Here’s how high-speed autonomous trains would work: sensors would equip the high-speed drone train, which currently travel at up to 320 kmh (200 mph), to run smoothly across tracks in France. The technology would help the trains detect obstacles and brake automatically. The train could also be piloted remotely, although a conductor would still be present at least initially in case of emergency. The onboard drivers would also manage opening and closing of doors. Related: China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’ SNCF said they’re not working on the technology to reduce their staff. They told French publication FranceInfo there will always be a need for a human onboard. SNCF adjoint director Matthieu Chabanel likened the drone trains to autopilot systems aboard an airplane , telling FranceInfo, “On high-speed, we are aiming for automation in the sense of automatic steering as in aircraft. In aircraft, you always have a driver, fortunately, but you have an automatic steering system.” Through the drone trains, SNCF hopes to ramp up the frequency and speed of TGV trips, especially around Paris . They think automated trains could increase the number of trips between the country’s capital and Lyon by 25 percent. FranceInfo reported a team of ten people is devoted to the project, and they are collaborating with research institutions and other rail companies like Alstom. The first prototype tests would transport goods, with passengers possibly hopping aboard around 2023. Via The Verge and FranceInfo Images via Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia

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China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’

June 6, 2017 by  
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City public transportation systems typically rely on a mix of trains and buses . But what if the two could be combined? Chinese company CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive recently debuted a trackless train that could ease traffic and emissions in urban centers. The Autonomous Rail Transit (ART) uses sensors to run along invisible tracks on city streets. Train tracks on city streets could be a thing of the past if all goes well with the ART, recently unveiled in the city of Zhuzhou in the Hunan province in China , where it recently went on a trial run. Firstpost described the ART as the world’s first trackless train. Sensor technology enables the ART to glide over roads, helping it track a guiding system in place. The sensors send the information back to the train’s central control unit – what Firstpost described as a brain – to help it travel smoothly. Related: You won’t believe the interior of Japan’s jaw-dropping new train More than 300 people can ride on the ART, which is comprised of three carriages in its basic state but can expand to include five. It has rubber wheels with plastic cores. A twin-head system means the train never has to make a U-turn, according to Firstpost. The trackless train is over 103 feet long. The ART is powered by electricity , so it won’t give off carbon emissions as traditional trains do. It can travel at a speed of around 43 miles per hour. CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive has reportedly been testing the ART technology for around four years, but the trackless train could finally be ready to roll out on the road in 2018. The company boasts a wide array of electric locomotives. Their Blue Locomotive won the title of Best New Energy Locomotive at the Berlin International Rail Transit Technology Exhibition. Via Firstpost Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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China unveils train that travels on ‘virtual tracks’

South Korea unveils plan for near-supersonic hyper-tube train

January 19, 2017 by  
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Transportation that moves close to the speed of sound could be a reality in South Korea before too long. The country’s government-run Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) is working on their own super-speedy Hyperloop -esque train that could travel as fast as 1,000 kilometers per hour, or around 621 miles per hour, and they say it will be ready in the “not-too-distant future.” South Korea’s near-supersonic train could rocket travelers between Seoul and Busan, a trip that currently takes about 50 minutes by plane or over five hours on public transportation, in a snappy half hour. A KRRI spokesperson said, “We hope to create an ultra-fast train, which will travel inside a state-of-the-art low-pressure tube at lighting speeds, in the not-too-distant future. To that end, we will cooperate with associated institutes as well as Hanyang University to check the viability of various related technologies called the hyper-tube format over the next three years.” Related: The U.S. Air Force just smashed the world record for maglev speed The Korea Times notes that “hyper-tube” technology is akin to the Hyperloop technology first proposed by Elon Musk and currently under development by a couple competing companies. They say the pods rocketing through tubes can fly so fast because there isn’t any friction, that tricky little force slowing regular trains and other traditional forms of transportation. Maglev trains are free of the annoyance of friction, but they still have to battle air resistance. KRRI said it would work with other institutions to solve drawbacks the Hyperloop currently faces, such as threats from terrorism or natural disasters. “Many countries such as the United States, Canada, and China are competing to take the lead in this futuristic technology and we will also try to preempt our global rivals,” said the spokesperson. Via The Korea Times Images via Korea Railroad Research Institute and Wikimedia Commons

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South Korea unveils plan for near-supersonic hyper-tube train

Chinese-funded $13.8bn railway to slice through Kenya’s oldest national park

August 3, 2015 by  
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A $13.8 bn railway project, linking Nairobi to Mombasa, will cut right through Nairobi National Park in Kenya. The Chinese-funded railway line is set to replace the colonial-era Lunatic Express, so-named for the dangerous building process that exposed workers to disease, drought, and man-eating lions. Though the park and the wildlife within it attracts tourists from all over the world, the government has said this should not keep Kenya from building much-needed infrastructure. Read the rest of Chinese-funded $13.8bn railway to slice through Kenya’s oldest national park

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Chinese-funded $13.8bn railway to slice through Kenya’s oldest national park

Japan’s Maglev train breaks world speed record at blazing fast 375 mph

April 21, 2015 by  
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Today, Japan’s maglev (magnetic levitation) train set a world speed record, traveling at a blazing 375 mph (603 kph) on a test track.  Just a few days before, the train had set a world record when the Central Japan Railway Company’s high-speed train hit an also impressive 366 mph (590 kph) on its test track in Yamanashi Prefecture west of Tokyo. Prior to that, the previous world record was set by the rail company in 2003. Read the rest of Japan’s Maglev train breaks world speed record at blazing fast 375 mph Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: high speed rail , HSR , Japan , Maglev , magnetic levitation , Northeast Maglev , trains , world speed record

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Japan’s Maglev train breaks world speed record at blazing fast 375 mph

14 Awe-inspiring aerial photographs capture the beauty of the Earth

April 21, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of 14 Awe-inspiring aerial photographs capture the beauty of the Earth Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: aerial imagery , aerial photographs , aerial photography , Climate Change , earth day , earth day photography , heart voh , landscapes , mangrove swamps , new caledonia , Yann Arthus-Betrand , Yann Arthus-Betrand aerial photography , Yann Arthus-Betrand photography

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14 Awe-inspiring aerial photographs capture the beauty of the Earth

Apple’s US operations are now 100% powered by renewable energy

April 21, 2015 by  
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Just ahead of Earth Day, Apple has published their annual environmental responsibility report , much of which highlights the projects they have undertaken in the past year to reduce their footprint, such as the two massive solar farms under construction in China and the purchase of 36,000 acres of forest in North Carolina and Maine . But what is perhaps most striking about the report is the bigger picture news that all of Apple’s US operations, all of their data centers and 87-percent of their global operations now run on renewable energy . Read the rest of Apple’s US operations are now 100% powered by renewable energy Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: apple , apple environmental responsibility report , apple recycling , e-waste apple , earth day , mac sustainability , rare earth metals , renewable energy , Solar Power

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TEST DRIVE: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car for the real world

April 21, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of TEST DRIVE: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car for the real world Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: car review , e golf , electric car , electric motor , green car , green transportation , lithium ion battery , review , volkswagen , Volkswagen E-Golf , volkswagen golf

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TEST DRIVE: 2015 Volkswagen e-Golf is an electric car for the real world

Can Americans Rediscover Their Love of Rail Travel?

September 12, 2014 by  
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“Trainsforming America” is a new documentary that takes a hard look at why America has fallen behind the rest of the world when it comes to properly investing in an efficient passenger rail system. Filmmakers Rebecca Autumn Sansom and Katie Chen interview rail riders, experts and policymakers to find out what people think about the future of passenger rail in the country. Chen travels to Europe to experience their passenger rail system and compares the ease of train travel on the other side of the Atlantic to America’s antiquated rail system . Once the envy of the world, U.S. rail has fallen into disrepair and forces most Americans to rely on overloaded roads and overburdened airports. Read the rest of Can Americans Rediscover Their Love of Rail Travel? Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: america , amtrak , commuter train , documentary , Earl Blumenaur , Europe , high speed rail , Maglev , passenger rail , rail , Rebecca Autumn Sansom. Katie Chen , trains , Trainsforming America

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