Why do the trains have to stop?

Fantastic idea from China for a transport system where the trains don’t stop at stations, but where people still get on and off. Most of the energy in public transport is spent in getting the train/bus/tram moving again only shortly after you’ve stopped it at a station. So how do we remove this wasteful but presumably vital step from the process?

One engineering team in Taiwan have come up with the innovative idea of effectively hooking the waiting rooms on and off the train at each station. So you get into the waiting room, the next train comes along and picks the room up on its roof, you go down into the body of the train; then when the your stop is approaching, you step up again into a waiting room and the train deposits it at the next station. Genius! The video below shows how this would all work:

China, and other emerging economies have an enormous advantage over us in transport innovation in that they have a blank slate (and lots of money). Unfortunately transport progress in this country is doomed to take advantage of (albeit well engineered) Victorian infrastructure.

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  1. Alstom (makers of the TGV) are investigating flywheel technology for considerable energy saving when starting and stopping. When the train approaches a station the flywheel is engaged to convert kinetic energy to potential energy within the flywheel. The energy from the flywheel is then used to get the train moving again. The idea would be to have one to two flywheels per bogie for maximum effect.

  2. That’s pretty cool, nice to now we’re not going to be left completely trailing the East in these matters!

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