August 15, 2007
While local officials are busy trying to scrap our railroad and replace it with a bicycle trail, good progress continues to be made on railroad technology and construction both overseas and elsewhere in the U.S.
Todd Edelman, director of Prague-based Green Idea Factory, just sent us information about recent developments with regard to battery powered hybrid diesel-battery DMUs (diesel multiple units) that are being developed and put into operation in Japan and Europe. Although much progress has been made on DMUs recently, this hybrid technology promises still further improvements in fuel efficiency and in emissions reduction. More information can be found in the Railway Gazette news articles August 1, July 1 and May 4.
DMUs are in extensive use on non-electrified railway lines in Europe and Japan, and they are starting to be deployed on new rail transit systems in the U.S. as well. Eastside Rail Now! has been advocating their use on the Eastside railroad because of their very low startup costs (compared to electric light rail), low operating costs, operational flexibility, passenger comfort and environment friendliness. For more information about DMUs, see the Diesel Multiple Unit page on our website.
As another example of the progress being made on passenger transportation in Japan, East Japan Railway Co. recently announced that it is planning to launch that country's fastest bullet train service, with a top speed of 320 kph. It will start running on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line between Tokyo and Aomori (at the northern tip of Japan's main island) by the end of fiscal 2010. This exceeds the 300 kph top speed of Japan's now fastest trains (between the Osaka and Fukuoka) and ties the world record currently held by French National Railways' TGV trains.
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