In a day of fascinating and ingenious environmentally friendly ideas (see my post at Sustainablog on the Utah 4-day work week), a Taiwanese inventor, Peng Yu-lun, has devised a new method of rail transport that could very well increase efficiency and reduce environmental impact.
Designed to never stop running – something you would almost imagine to be a vital necessity on a train – Peng’s talent for invention has awarded him a bronze medal at the Nuremburg International Inventors Exhibition in Germany, as well as a silver medal at the Taipei International Inventors Exhibition; so he can’t be too far off the track (sorry), can he?
In fact, there is a lot more to his design than just a train that doesn’t stop. The design was inspired by the Hsinchu-Miaoli Light Rail Transit.
His invention, which saw him using toy trains and tracks to come up with his idea, consists of a “train” racing through a station, at its top velocity of 85 kilometers per hour; a speed, mind you, that it rarely averages. That number is much closer to 35 kilometers per hour.
But instead of a well timed leap or the use of specially trained train pushers, passengers will only need to enter a “boarding” car, which is put in motion ahead of the train’s arrival. After the rear of the traveling train catches up, the boarding car attaches itself to the rest of the boarding cars. To get off, a passenger need only move to the correct boarding car which is designated to slip off the traveling train to reach their specific destination.
Similar to the issues that drivers have with fuel consumption in their cars, continually stopping and starting – especially during peak traffic hours – this will be a huge saving on energy, as well as equipment. And while we will always focus on the immediate energy consumption of, well, anything, Peng is also looking at the longer environmental footprint of the equipment used in the construction of a train. The longer that it lasts, the longer it will stay out of a scrap heap.