Flying the Rails at 360 kph

The AGV setting the world speed record for travel on railCall it a sign of the times: Air France-KLM, Europe’s leading air carrier, is going electric.

Forget about visions of battery-electric airplanes. EV technology has its work cut out just commercializing battery-electric cars, let alone trying to catapult hundreds of passengers into the air. Instead, Air France is recognizing the energy-efficiency and convenience of commuter trains and hitting the rails.

Last week the Paris-based airline launched a joint venture with European bus and train operator Veolia to offer high-speed rail service between London, Paris and Amsterdam beginning in 2010 — the year that EU laws will open international rail travel to competition. For technology they are eyeing a new generation of high-speed coaches that’s nearing completion: the Automotrice à Grande Vitesse or AGV under development by France’s Alstom.

The AGV is faster, more efficient and can haul more passengers than its predecessor, the TGV. In speed tests in 2007 the AGV hit 574.8 kilometers per hour — within spitting distance of the speed record set by Japan’s maglevs. Alstom expects the AGV to cruise at 360 kph in regular service — about 40 kph above the TGV’s limit.

Italy’s NTV is building rails for the first AGV’s, which are expected to begin rolling there in 2011.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank

This post was created for Tech Talk – Insights into tomorrow’s technology from the editors of IEEE Spectrum.

Advertisements

One thought on “Flying the Rails at 360 kph

Offer feedback

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s