Future is here, with the launch of world’s first ever trackless train in China. These smart trains don’t need any railway tracks, no tracks – how cool! And, this train technology which is addressed as ‘world’s first smart train’ was tested for real in the city of Zhuzhou, China.
Millions are spent on laying the railway tracks, but what if we can skip those tracks and trains can run on track-less routes, or rather, on virtual tracks? The Chinese have built something exactly same – an unmanned train that doesn’t run on rails. You know, like a bus, but it is not a bus – it is a train. Actually named as the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit (ART), this train/bus (trus?) is dubbed as “world’s first smart trackless train ever”. The idea of developing such trains struck the Chinese’s minds back in 2013 to overcome the hellish congestion on the urban roads of the country – as ART will be more economic than trains and trams, and it will be way eco-friendlier compared to other mediums.
You must be wondering about how exactly do these trackless trains work, so it uses sensors to determine the dimensions of roads and generates a virtual track for itself. The train itself is built in form of a sporty sleek body with comfortable seating arrangements inside, and it run on rubber wheels with plastic core. With a capacity to carry 300 passengers, the ART runs on visible white dotted lines – that serve as tracks for the trackless train. Which means, trains can run on roads and hence there will be no need of special construction and provision for trains tracks.
ART was tested on the roads of Zhuzhou and was even seen with some passengers inside. As per Chinese CCRC, the vehicle will begin full fledges operations in spring and the three compartment train can carry as many as 300 passengers comfortably through the city. The cost of building a regular tramway with length of 1 kilometre will cost 150 to 200 million yuan (Rs 147 to Rs 196 crore), whereas the virtual tracks will reduce the cost to 50 to 100 million Yuan (Rs 49 to 98 crore)! Economic.