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November 19, 2020updated 18 Nov 2020 9:38pm

High-speed rail and decarbonisation: Future Rail Issue 87 is out now

In this issue: analysing the environmental record of high-speed railways, keeping trains free from Covid-19, the impact of privatisation on Indian railways and more.

By Joe Baker

Future Rail is back for another issue with a brand new design and packed with even more industry news and expert analysis. In this issue, we analyse the environmental record of high-speed rail networks worldwide, ask what lessons can be learned from a derailment in Stonehaven, UK earlier this year, and find out how privatisation could change India’s rail network.

Whether you are on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, you can read the magazine for free online.

In this issue

Transport System Bögl: bringing driverless maglev trains to urban environments

Construction company Max Bögl’s maglev system for driverless trains has been given a green light by the German Federal Authority. Ilaria Grasso Macola speaks to Max Bögl product manager Andreas Rau to find out what has happened since the project’s inception in 2010 and what the future holds.


Q&A: on board Virgin Hyperloop with the first test passengers

Virgin Hyperloop’s passenger test is a major step towards the commercial use of hyperloop systems. Ilaria Grasso Macola speaks to Virgin Hyperloop director of passenger experience Sara Luchian to understand how the hyperloop could become the sustainable, direct-to-destination transport mode of the future.


Stonehaven rail crash: key lessons to learn

A recent train derailment in Scotland that proved fatal for three people has highlighted the threat posed by increasingly extreme weather patterns to rail safety. Adele Berti asks: what lessons can be learned for the future?


Track and trace: keeping the railways free from Covid-19

As the UK begins to move again following months of lockdown measures, train operating companies are trying to get back on their feet whilst protecting staff and passengers from Covid-19. Andrew Tunnicliffe speaks with React cleaning specialist Shaun Doak about the challenges they face in keeping trains free from the virus and encouraging passengers to get back on board.


Is high-speed rail the fast track to transport decarbonisation?

Have high-speed rail networks worldwide delivered on their green commitments? Have they helped reduce carbon emissions in their respective regions, and, ultimately, are such rail systems worth the environmental cost of construction? Julian Turner analyses five of the biggest networks to find out.


Will HS2’s Birmingham Curzon Street provide the blueprint for future rail stations in the UK?

The first project to get the green light as part of the hotly contested and hugely anticipated HS2 project in the UK is Birmingham Curzon Street Station. Andrew Tunnicliffe speaks with the company’s Hala Lloyd about the station, what it means for HS2 and the city, and why it promises to redefine rail infrastructure projects of the future.


Debate: should railway tax be axed?

UK rail operators are calling for a reform in transport fares and taxes to better reflect and reward the industry’s low carbon footprint. While less polluting than other sectors, critics point out that the rail industry is still a significant polluter with a huge physical footprint. Do railways deserve to be let off the hook in favour of higher aviation taxes, or should train operators still pay a share? Adele Berti and Ilaria Grasso Macola examine the pros and cons.


Private rail for India: a positive step towards long-overdue reform?

Private operators are being invited to run services across India’s rail network for the first time. However, the move is causing division between those supporting a reform of the network and those who fear the ramifications of privatisation. Adele Berti takes a deeper look.


Is Brightline still on track to revolutionise high-speed rail in the US?

Despite having to suspend services in response to the Covid-19 crisis and ending its branding deal with Virgin Trains, Brightline – the only privately owned intercity rail service in the US – is pushing ahead with ambitious expansion plans. Julian Turner gets the inside track from senior VP Ben Porritt.


Next issue preview

After a dismal year for passenger travel across the English channel, what will the end of the Brexit transition period mean for rail cargo operations through the tunnel?

Next time, we ask whether the Covid-19 pandemic will cause an industry-wide rethink on ticketing to better suit work from home behaviours, as well as examine the impact on heritage railways in the UK.

Examining rail on a broader scale, we find out what initiatives the European Commission is promoting as it pronounces 2021 its ‘European year or rail’ in a bid to ‘attract more people and goods to the railways’.

We ask whether Germany’s Covid-19 relief has been unfairly weighted towards Deutsche Bahn over other smaller rail operators, and find out what’s lacking in the Australian rail market after the Australasian Railway Association called for rail innovation to be named a national priority in a new report.

Finally, we speak to leading international consulting group COWI about its new partnership with Network Rail, which it hopes will see mobile mapping solutions being used to make tunnel examinations safe, more efficient and more accurate.

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