Future Rail is back for another issue packed with industry news and analysis. In this issue, we explore the use of AI and IoT in predictive maintenance, profile the freight wagons of the future, and find out whether the introduction of 5G at Shanghai’s Hongqiao station could constitute a new cyber threat.

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In this issue

Transporting LNG by rail: Trump’s new challenge for the US freight sector

An executive order on energy infrastructure by US President Donald Trump proposes that liquefied natural gas (LNG) be carried by rail, but critics have described rail cars carrying hydrocarbons as ‘bomb trains’. Can LNG be transported by rail without a repeat of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic disaster? Julian Turner reports.

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Commuter Rail Coalition: the voice of US commuter railroads

The Commuter Rail Coalition is committed to educating the government and the public about the benefits of commuter rail transportation, as well as advocating for future resources. Julian Turner gets the inside track from executive director KellyAnne Gallagher.

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Could the ‘metroisation’ of south London put an end to commuting misery?

A metro-style service operated by Transport for London could soon be introduced in southeast London as part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s bid to improve hundreds of locals’ daily commute to the capital. Adele Berti asks whether this so-called ‘metroisation’ of rail services will bring more reliable services to locals.

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Lines of data: using IIoT and AI to improve predictive rail maintenance

The Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC) uses the industrial internet of things and artificial intelligence to develop new predictive rail maintenance and performance management technologies. Julian Turner gets the inside track on its JR East project from strategic execution director Ajay Raghavan.

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Flight-shaming: can railroads replace flying?

The increasingly popular flight-shame movement is pushing more and more Swedes to ditch air travel in favour of more sustainable rail alternatives. With the holiday season kicking off and cheap flying deals increasingly available, Adele Berti asks how and where trains could become a more popular transportation method than planes in the future.

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From London to Scotland: Cruising along with the new Caledonian Sleeper

In operation since June, the new Caledonian Sleeper fleet was recently revamped to carry passengers between London and some of Scotland’s finest locations. Adele Berti casts an eye over the luxurious amenities awaiting passengers onboard.

Take a look at our gallery here.

Will 5G create new cyber threats to global railways?

Huawei and China Mobile recently launched 5G at Shanghai’s Hongqiao Railway Station, which will allow passengers to download a 2GB high-definition film in less than 20 seconds. However, the move has raised concerns about how this new network may play into the growing trend of rail and metro cyber-attacks. Heidi Vella investigates.

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Changing tracks: the freight rail wagons of the future

The consortium of DB Cargo and VTG has completed its research into a new generation of cost and energy-efficient freight wagons. Julian Turner explores this project and other freight innovations, including sustainable rail cars, an ‘intelligent’ digital freight train, and the latest tank container technology.

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Next issue preview

In the August issue of Future Rail, we examine the state of railways in Cape Town, South Africa, which have experienced a spate of arson attacks in recent years. With recent elections marking a step change in the country, will its rail services benefit?

The UK’s much-maligned HS2 project may have gone a bit pear-shaped, but under a new proposal the iconic ‘Y’ shape of the proposed high-speed rail network could be significantly altered to benefit northern rail services. Then it’s to the coast, as we explore whether the country’s seaside railways are facing – and responding to – a greater threat from climate change.

Elsewhere, we set our sights on Swiss Railways, which is planning to introduce a swathe of new upgrades and services, and in a special picture feature we take a look at Glasgow’s new subway fleet; the first in the UK to run with no staff on-board.

Looking further afield, we profile Qatar’s efforts to expand its rail services ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and try to answer five questions on Alfa-X; Japan’s recently unveiled, long-nosed bullet train, which is expected to break speed records when it is introduced to regular service in 2030.

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