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Author Topic: World First Solar Train Arrives in Byron Bay [Australia]  (Read 1816 times)
Transport Scholar
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« on: November 08, 2017, 09:57:44 am »

Following six years of planning, restoration of a 1949 heritage train and 3km of railway
line, the construction of two platforms and a train shed and the upcycling to produce the
world’s first solar train, the two carriage rail motor has today arrived in Byron Bay.

The monumental project comes from not-for-profit heritage rail organisation Byron Bay
Railroad Company. Their Byron Bay train will take locals and visitors between Byron
township and the burgeoning North Beach precinct incorporating the Byron Arts Estate,
the Sunrise residential community and Elements of Byron resort. The 3km journey along
the coastal track will cost just $3 for adults with some concessions provided for children.

This is another big milestone for the project and we’re just glad to see our beautiful train in its new Byron home. Even more so, we’re really looking forward to running first
passenger services and sharing this experience with residents and visitors soon.

The train, which has been fully refurbished in its heritage colours, seats 100 passengers
with additional room for standing passengers and luggage including prams and bicycles.
While there are some trains throughout the world with technology that allows them to
run parts of the train like lights and air conditioning on solar power, this is the first real train to run fully on power from the sun.

“This is an exciting world first, powering a train with solar power, day, night and in every type of weather” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council. “It shows Australia’s fantastic sunshine can be harnessed in smart ways not just to power
our homes and businesses, but to address another pressing problem – cutting emissions
in the transportation sector.”

Byron Bay Railroad Company is hopeful that passenger services will commence pre
Christmas. In the meantime they will begin training the nineteen new local staff,
undertaking test runs and commissioning the new solar equipment.

“Solar doesn’t stand still” said Dan Cass, Strategist at The Australia Institute. “It has been growing exponentially for a decade and more solar PV generation capacity is being
installed than any other technology internationally. This train demonstrates that
Australian solar scientists and their innovations are changing the world”.

For more information visit
Transport Scholar
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 12:19:47 pm »

Interesting, but not perhaps as exciting as it appears initially.
It would seem to be a primarily battery powered train, with a limited contribution from train mounted PV modules.
The train is plugged into the mains at the depot to charge. The fact that the depot is equipped with a large roof mounted, grid tied PV array is good for sustainability, but nothing remarkable these days.

I expect to see more use of battery powered trains for branch or secondary routes, and perhaps also for short sections of main lines that are problematic to electrify, such as the sea wall at Dawlish.

I have previously suggested that PV modules be fitted to lightly used rolling stock on heritage lines, but that is to keep seldom used batteries in good condition, not to propel a train.

"When customers say that they want a seat, they dont mean they want to sit with their knees behind their ears so that 4 more can sit down. They mean that they want an extra coach so that 74 more can sit down"
"Capacity on intercity routes should be about number of vehicles, not compressing people"
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