Future Rail: Issue 47

In this issue: Exporting Japan’s bullet train, what it takes to drive Virgin Trains’ new Azuma, Sydney Metro’s growth spurt, solar-powered trains, engines of tomorrow, combating fake tickets, and more.


Japan is keen to market its bullet train technology, recently making a deal with India and holding talks with Malaysia. However, some critics say that a bullet from Ahmedabad to Mumbai would cost three times more than India’s annual health budget. So is Japan’s high-tech rolling stock too expensive to sell?

In another first, Virgin Trains has received more than 15,000 applications for drivers of its new Azuma trains. We ask how the company will select the perfect people for the job.

Plus, we investigate forged train tickets on the dark web, hear the growth plans of the Sydney Metro, find out about solar-powered trains, profile the engines of tomorrow, and hear about storm-safe solutions for stations.

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In this issue

Connecting an expanding city
Sydney Metro is Australia’s biggest public transport development and is still growing. In November 2016, the government announced that stage three of the project will link the CBDs of Sydney and Parramatta. We look at the plans.
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Capturing the moment for solar-powered trains
We explore a project by Imperial College which aims to find out if solar panels on railway side tracks can be used to power trains directly in order to bypass the grid.
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Powering the trains of tomorrow
Diesel still plays a major part on networks in many countries but companies are experimenting with new forms of power, such as hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. We profile the alternative ways of powering trains.
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Driving the Azuma
Virgin Trains held an extensive process to recruit drivers for its state-of-the-art Azuma trains, which will run on the UK East Coast Main Line from the end of 2018. Why have more than 15,000 applied for the 78 positions and how will Virgin select the perfect people for the task?
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Is Japan’s bullet train an economic killer?
Why is Japan struggling to market its high-speed bullet train technology to foreign markets? Following a recent deal with India critics have pointed out that a Ahmedabad - Mumbai bullet would cost three times more than India’s annual health budget. So, is the bullet train simply too expensive?
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Fighting Fraud
A BBC investigation revealed that forged rail tickets being sold at a fraction of their real price on the dark web can easily be used without detection. With digital currencies becoming mainstream, how can electronic tickets be regulated?
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Business critical: Can UK rail weather the storm? 
The rising frequency of severe weather events, including storms, flooding and landslides, impress the need for reliable critical communications solutions. Everbridge discusses the benefits of investing in an integrated system.
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In the next issue

East meets West as China launches a direct rail freight service to London, as part of its drive to develop trade and investment ties with Europe through the New Silk Road. We explore what this could mean for rail freight transport between the UK and Asia’s superpower.

Also in the East, General Electric has reached a milestone in its $17bn deal to supply 1,000 diesel locomotives to India. With the design agreed and factory complete, we catch up with the next stage of this monumental project. 

Plus, we speak to experts about China’s high-speed revolution, get onboard Japan’s exclusive luxury sleeper cruise train, take a look at the new Stuttgart central station, profile the surprising success of the monorail, and examine solutions to the rail industry skills gap.

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