Future of train travel makes sense, comfortable and electric

Future of train travel makes sense, comfortable and electric

Innovative breakthroughs, “green” technologies and futuristic designs utilized by leading trade manufacturing plants worldwide are actually on show in Berlin at the InnoTrans 2018 trade exhibition for trains. Until yesterday the fair was available to industry insiders, from today until tomorrow and today to everyone.

The fair features prototypes of train technologies which will be launched in the industry market within the next few years, many of them likely to change the global world of train transportation.

“The continuing future of Mobility” was the theme of the year’s biannual fair, and exhibitors delivered with 146 world premieres, highlighting the significance of the function as a showcase of innovation and an economic driver of the sector, said Christian Goke, CEO of Messe Berlin GmbH, which puts on the function.

Ben Mobius, managing director, Verband der Bahnindustrie in Deutschland EV (VDB), said the rail industry is moving innovation in e-mobility and automated systems forward. Electric mobility can move people who have less environmental impact than using traditional carbon-based fuels, and automation allows transit operators to perform on a tighter schedule therefore increase overall capacity. The essence of innovation for the railway industry, he said, is that it creates common sense and that riding on rails remains great fun.

For example, Canadian-based aircraft and train manufacturer Bombardier Transportation introduced its latest train driven by batteries. The trains themselves are emission-free, energy-efficient and low-noise – and the ongoing company claims that it sets a typical for sustainable mobility.

The development of the battery-operated train received a 4-million-euro subsidy from the German authorities in the framework of an innovation program for electro-mobility. The project partners are the DB Regio subsidiary DB ZugBus Regionalverkehr Alb-Bodensee (regional transport for the Lake Constance region), Nahverkehrsgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg (Baden-Wuerttemberg Regional Transport Company) and the Nationale Organisation Wasserstoff-und Brennstoffzellentechnologie (National Organisation for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology) together with the Technical University of Berlin. 

The new battery-operated train may be the to begin its kind to enter passenger operation in Europe in over 60 years. It creates no exhaust, and sets the typical for smart mobility with peak values of 90 % in the regions of efficiency and recyclability. It really is around 50 % quieter than modern diesel trains also, said the ongoing company.

According to a comparative study by the Technical University of Dresden, the battery-operated train clearly comes with an edge with regards to the total costs over the service life of 30 years.

“With this new battery-operated train, we have been putting real innovation on the tracks,” said Michael Fohrer, who heads Bombardier Transportation in Germany. “This train is Bombardier’s technological reaction to challenges such as for example air pollution, climate scarcity and change of resources. Around 40 % of the German rail network isn’t electrified. The Bombardier battery-operated train can be an attractive substitute for counter that, both and ecologically speaking economically.”

The prospects for the batter-operated train are positive generally, he said.

Increasing capacity

The range increases with continuous capacity increases permitted by new battery developments proportionally. 

The current prototype has four Bombardier Mitrac traction batteries and will travel routes of around 40 kilometres – and in 2019, another generation of battery-operated trains should be able to cover distances as high as 100 kilometres on non-electrified railways. 

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Next, Deutsche Bahn (DB) use the existing prototype to start out a 12-month trial run with passengers in the Alb-Lake Constance region.

The ongoing company uses artificial intelligence or AI to aid their design and maintenance systems, with the AI helping the engineers know how the machine is functioning and how exactly to keep up with the trains.

The fair carries a full-scale mock-up of a double-decker carriage from DB Regio AG, a Deutsche Bahn subsidiary that operates medium-distance and short- commuter train services in Germany. Visitors can board the carriage to secure a vivid impression of the rolling stock, which is useful for future regional services. Also making its first international appearance may be the first half-train of the DB 484 series for the brand new S-Bahn (light rail train) for Berlin and Brandenburg.

China-based CRRC shows the latest-technology metro vehicle “CETROVO”. Its design reduced by 13 % the weight of an ongoing train, plus a 3 decibel noise reduction and 15 % savings in energy. The look includes a carbon fibre car body.

The home design for several trains shown at the function ensures sufficient space for disabled people, the aged and children. 

Space for bicycles are included, so people could bring them along when travelling by train.

These will be the trends in train transportation on display at the fair, and which is often expected to arrive on our railways – using digital technology, AI, and innovations to boost train technology and design for several social people.