Not impressed by a driverless train that’s a bus? How about one that emits no pollutants?
The world’s first hydrogen-powered tram went into operation in Hebei’s Tangshan city last Thursday. The tram, which is powered by hydrogen fuel cells, was developed by Tangshan Railway Vehicle Co. Ltd. (TRC), under the guidance of Chinese rail giant China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation.
Operating on a 136-year-old railway line, the tram can run for up to 40 kilometers before it needs more hydrogen, hitting a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour while carrying 336 passengers.
Of course, the most impressive thing about the tram is that it emits only steam, no pollutants.
While this may seem revolutionary, and it is in some ways, trams/trains that are powered by electricity can be just as environmentally-friendly, it just depends on how the electricity is being produced. However, as CityLab notes, electrifying minor train routes may not always be cost-effective, and that’s where these new hydrogen-powered trains can play a role, “perfect for shorter, quieter stretches of the network that electrification hasn’t yet reached.”
In this technology, China is just slightly ahead of Germany which has plans to launch its first passenger rail service powered by hydrogen — the Coradia iLint, developed by French manufacturer Alstom — later this year
— Alstom (@Alstom) September 26, 2016
And while this is all well and good for humans and the planet — it does make us long for the days of the “straddling bus,” when everything seemed impossible.
[Images via China News Service]
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