When it comes to the rail transportation industry, the future is here. New advances are making the railway a safer and more comfortable way to travel. Even with airplanes and trucks taking a big chunk of the transportation market, trains are still a reliable choice both for commuters and for moving goods.
Erik Greener is a senior signal designer with a lot of experience in the rail transportation industry. His take on the exciting trends of the industry is both fascinating and illuminating at the same time. “Gone are the days,” he says, “when you’d get on a train just so it would take you from point A to point B. The whole experience is going through an overhaul and staying connected is right at the heart of it all.” But it’s not just the digital revolution that’s catching up with the railway system, other promising trends are also at work.
Obstacle Detection Assistance System
Safety is the main concern for travelers whatever the means of transportation they use. And while the railroad has a great safety track record, accidents do happen even when it’s no fault of the train driver. According to Erik Greener, the new obstacle assistance system helps detect obstacles on the track and alerts the driver about any issues that crop up. This is an especially important safety measure for trams and metros that crisscross crowded cities. “The chances for other vehicles and even pedestrians,” Greener says, “crossing the tracks in front of coming trams are high. This system prevents such accidents and makes the railway safer for travelers both on and off the train.”
The green revolution is a reality. Calls for protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gas emissions are getting louder in every industry. Vehicles, including trains, are one of the more targeted industries for their damage done to the environment. This makes it crucial for the railway industry to hop on the green revolution wagon to help save the planet. Fossil fuel has been the main culprit and there’s a new trend to transition the train industry away from fossil fuel being the primary source of fuel. Hydrogen fuel cells are a good alternative. The clean energy that powers trains is produced by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen which has zero environmental fingerprints. Additionally, electric trains are also getting more popular. Each train has a battery onboard which gets recharged on the go as the train passes under electric cables along the tracks.
With the leaps in digital technology, comes risks. As Erik Greener puts it, “We live in a digital village and we rely more and more on our smartphones in our daily lives. But this leaves us open to hackers and malicious intrusive viruses that could disrupt our lives and put us in harm’s way.”
The same danger applies to the railway system as much as it applies to people and companies. With the infrastructure going digital and running on software, measures must be taken to ensure the integrity of the whole system. More resources are being poured into the field of cyber-security that promise to make the railway safer against hacking and interference.
In megacities where millions of people rely on the railway system for their daily commute to and from work, there’s an increasing need for high-speed rail. It’s not just that such trains are cheaper and more convenient, but they’re also faster.
These super trains can travel at speeds of up to 670 miles an hour. “We’re talking about a cleaner alternative to the old diesel trains or the petrol-guzzling airplanes,” says Erik Greener. “And we’re already seeing examples of these bullet trains in action. The Virgin Hyperloop One and the Shinkansen in France and Japan respectively are revolutionizing the way people travel every day.”
The idea behind these super-fast trains is simple. The train travels through a steel tube which reduces friction and drag. It also insulates the train from any obstacles and hurdles on the way or interference from other vehicles. It’s more like a real superhighway where the train travels through magnetic fields that keep it elevated. In other words, travelers get to experience the speed of air travel at a fraction of the cost of an air ticket.