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September 22, 2016

Future Rail: Issue 42

In this issue: Alstom’s double-decker trains for HS2, a futuristic plane-to-train pod concept, outcomes of the US Millennial Trains Project, Fujitsu’s digital railway technologies, the feasibility of crowdfunding rail projects, safety-checking driverless freight trains, and more.

By Ceri Jones

In a UK railway first, Alstom is proposing to have double-decker trains run along the 225mph HS2 line, to resolve some of the capacity and cost issues of the £7.5bn rolling stock contract, which is currently open to bidding. We take a look at this proposal, as well as the others on the table.

Also a first, we speak to Swiss company Clip-Air about a multi-modal travel concept that plans to use detachable capsules to carry passengers plane-to-train in one step, but is it too visionary?

Plus, we hear from entrepreneurs aboard a US transcontinental journey who hope to use rail travel to inspire social and cultural growth for low-income communities, examine the feasibility of financing rail projects through crowdfunding, see how Fujitsu is employing digital technologies to improve UK networks, and investigate whether driverless trains could be safe for freight. 

Read the issue for free on the iPad through our app, or if you're on a desktop computer you can also read it in our web viewer.

In this issue

The Future is Multi-Modal Swiss company Clip-Air is developing a leftfield air travel concept using detachable capsules that can also run on rail to create a futuristic vision of multimodal transport. We speak to the company to find out more and is if the idea is a little too ahead of its time. Read the article here.

The Culture of US Rail The US non-profit Millennial Trains Project leads crowdfunded transcontinental train journeys for diverse groups of young innovators. To explore the social and cultural impact of rail travel on low-income communities, we catch up with two of the entrepreneurs on board.  Read the article here.

Welcome to the Digital Age With overcrowded trains and dissatisfied passengers, the UK rail industry is making efforts to alleviate the pressure. Fujitsu’s Russell Goodenough tells us about the potential of the digital railway and intelligent mobility. Read the article here.

Doubling Up for HS2 HS2’s £7.5bn rolling stock contract is open to bidding and Alstom has proposed using double-decker trains for the 225mph line. We take a look at the proposals on the table. Read the article here.

Are Driverless Trains Safe? In an age where the world is moving towards driverless transport, the US Federal Railroad Administration is considering mandating two-person crews on freight trains to ensure safety. Is this plan excessive or could driverless technology be the future for freight? Read the article here.

Crowdfunding London’s Transport A new report by London Councillor Keith Prince encourages Transport for London to consider using crowdfunding to help finance infrastructure projects such as new bus or tram routes. But could such costly public projects ever find success? We look at this model and past initiatives to learn more. Read the article here.

Next issue preview

Crossrail has been designed in a virtual environment, powered by Bentley modelling software which provides a complete overview of the entire development. We speak to Bentley on how using its technology on this epic scale could change the future of modelling software.

Elsewhere, we profile the US’s first privately owned rail system which is currently underway in Florida, hear the latest on Jakarta’s long-delayed Mass Transit Rail system hoped to ease the city’s crippling traffic jams, and consider how the crowdsourcing of ideas for Hyperloop ‘digital’ trains could inspire new ways to develop rail concepts going forward.

Plus, we talk to Deutsche Bahn about its trial of body cameras for security staff and reflect on the success of the UK’s National Training Academy for Rail first year.

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