Canberra: Australia is all set to launch world’s first solar-powered train between the Byron Bay town centre and the North Beach precinct.The report has been published in the local broadsheet paper.
Byron Bay will soon be home to the world’s first fully solar-powered train. Development ministers Jeremy Holmes told reporters that launching solar train is one the more complicated process than it was anticipated.
An Australian rail company has restored a disused train to be 100 percent powered by solar energy- a world first for the transportation sector. The Byron Bay Railroad Company has refurbished a 70-year-old stretch of track, 3 kilometers between the town of Byron Bay- a beachside town in the northeast of the state of New South Wales, and the Elements of Byron Bay resort.
The train features a 6.5 kilowatt (kW) custom curved solar array located on the roofs of the carriages which feeds the on-board 77 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery storage system- a capacity same as that in a Tesla Model S, able to provide sufficient storage for 12-15 trips.
A 30 kW solar PV array, a battery storage system and a charging station have been installed at the end of the route to recharge the train when needed. The restored vintage carriages can carry 100 seated passengers, with additional room for standing passengers, luggage, bikes, and surfboards.
The train embarked on its inaugural trip on Saturday and is currently running on a pilot timetable. The $4 million project was funded by the multi-millionaire businessman Brian Flannery, the owner of the Elements of Byron Bay resort.
The route was abandoned for 13 years due to low passenger level. When it was decided to be put back in service, the original idea was to have a traditional diesel train, but due to resistance from the community, the company explored alternative ideas.
The train still has one of the original two diesel engines in case of emergency in the event of a fault in the electric drive system, but all the train’s systems are originally planned to be powered by solar energy and battery storage.
The project appears to be the first fully solar-powered train in the world. A similar solar-powered train was launched in India in July, although the solar panels were used only to power passenger comfort systems, such as lights, information displays, and fans.