Swedish Green Train Project Breaks Speed Barrier

Swedish Green Fast Train photo

Swedes want their future trains to do a lot - go faster (at least up to 250 kilometers per hour, 50 Kph faster than the current X2000) using less energy; easily navigate stretches of bad tracks and sleety, snowy weather; be pretty and comfortable, AND cost less to operate. And oh yeah, they should do it by 2015.

Green Train breaks two Swedish speed records
To achieve those goals, the Swedish Railway Group is counting on a two-car electric-driven (Swedish electricity is mostly from hydro and nuclear) train type called Regina (Swedish designed from Canadian company Bombardier) retroffited with better bogies (wheel-carrying chassis) and noise-proofing to be faster, energy-efficient and comfy. One reason the country wants to get ahead in fast trains is because of the great (somewhat empty) distances between different population centers. Another is that the government realizes it needs to reduce the cost of fast, efficient train travel to compete with low-cost airlines. This summer the hyped-up Reginas got lots of testing, and last weekend broke two previous Swedish records (287 and 295 Kph) by travelling at 303 kilometers per hour. Poor Regina didn't get anywhere near the global record, however.The world's fastest train is currently the Japanese JR Maglev (magnetic levitation train), which has clocked speeds of 581 km/h.

Conventional train tracks, cheaper than planes
The Swedes have more modest goals - they want their trains to run on conventional European tracks but to be faster and more efficient than the norm. They also want popularity. Some Swedes eschew the train because they can generally get somewhere domestically faster and also cheaper by plane.

In Europe low-cost airlines are still sprouting like crab grass, though passenger numbers on the planes are said to be falling - the International Air Travel Association (IATA) "premium" travel fell about 10% over March and April compared with a year earlier. High-speed rail company Eurostar saw passenger numbers rise about 18 percent the first half of this year compared to 2007. Via

Swedish Green Fast Train photo
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