A bus or a train?
Japan recently unveiled the world’s first Dual-Mode Vehicle (DMV), a contraption that runs both on roads, like a bus, and on rails, like a train.
The unique bus-train hybrid was unveiled last month, in the town of Kaiyo, Japan’s Tokushima Prefecture.
If the vehicle didn’t win anyone over with its looks, it definitely made an impression in terms of practicality.
The DMV looks like a minibus and runs on normal rubber tyres on the road. But when it arrives at an interchange, steel wheels descend from the vehicle’s underbelly onto the rail track, effectively turning it into a train.
The front tires are lifted off of the track, while the rear wheels stay down to propel the vehicle onto the railway.
And, switching between road and train modes takes only about 15 seconds.
“This DMV can reach the locals as a bus and carry them onto the railway as well,” said Shigeki Miura, CEO of Asa Coast Railway, “Especially in rural areas with an aging population, we expect it to be a very good form of public transport.”
Either way the DMV has been in the works for over a decade, and authorities in Tokushima hope that it will not only improve the lives of locals but also attract tourists curious to see the dual-mode vehicles with their own eyes.
The vehicles, which come in a variety of colors, is diesel-powered, can carry up to 21 passengers and run at a speed of 60 km/h (37mph) in train mode, and up to 100 km/h (60mph) as a bus.
Shigeki Miura declared himself confident that the unique vehicle could help small towns like Kaiyo with an aging and shrinking population, where conventional transportation companies struggle to make money.
The unique fleet of vehicles will soon cover part of the coast of Shikoku island, connecting several towns and offering their passengers breathtaking seaside views.
Images from web – Google Research