Saturday, 15 December 2012

I Like Trains. Especially When They're Roller Coasters.

I could not be more excited if someone had told me that they were considering building a helter skelter between my flat and the street. I would be a bit more excited - say, if someone actually had built a helter skelter between my flat and the street - but this incredible innovation is in Japan.

But with good reason.

Tohoku during the 2011 tsunami.

Following the devastation caused by the tsunami last year, a company called Senyo Kogyo (which designs rollercoasters and other amusement park rides) along with a team from Tokyo University's Institute of Industrial Science have designed the Eco-Ride, a train that will use largely its own inertia to move.

It will have no engine and be very light; gravity will do most of the work, so what little energy is required will cause next to environmentally unfriendly emissions. Its speed is controlled  by 'vertical curves' in the tracks and should be able to travel at up to sixty kilometres per hour.

Numerous areas of Japan are already interested in installing Eco-Ride trains and it is hoped that they will expand to be used all over, to get around cities and towns but also by big business and sprawling university campuses that take a lot of time to walk around between, for instances, important meetings or lectures. The first train is expected to be built in 2014. It is due to be built in Tohoku, which, aside from being necessary to help survivors of the flood get around the ruined landscape, is said to be the perfect environment for Eco-Ride trains because of the slope between the relocated accommodation on the high ground in comparison to the businesses at the lower sea level.

Alight, these people have had their home washed away by furious, broiling sea water, but very soon they will be able to get a roller coaster to work.

With all due respect, sympathy and wishes for a quick recovery from the tragedy ... I am a little bit jealous...

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